I attended last Wednesday’s retirement reception for longtime Reno Gazette-Journal reporters Bill O’Driscoll, Ray Hagar, Susan Skorupa and Jeff DeLong, last of the dinosaurs.
The latter is former reporter Sue Voyles’ term for journalists who came to the paper before the dawn of the Internet. Other endangered species in attendance included Marilyn Newton, Allan Risdon, Lenita Powers and Frank X. Mullen, Skorupa’s husband.
Hagar’s political beat replacement will be import Seth Richardson, who at least reportedly has long hair and a beard to piss off conservatives.
The final four were the only ones given a party. Kinda like corporate relief at finally shedding their salaries.
O’Driscoll updated me on his ink-stained siblings. Brother Pat remains in Denver and former Las Vegas Sun writer Mary is chief communications officer at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, brought there by recently retired FERC chair and ex-Nevada consumer advocate Jon Wellinghoff.
The most interesting part of the public-invited soirée lay in who was not there – no present public officials at all. None. Nada. Zip. Amazing.
I made the point to several in attendance that newspapers are trying to become TV stations and thus forgetting to dance with who brung ‘em. Awhile back, one of the dinosaurs described to me the multi-tasking folly faced by journalists today.
He said that while in a courtroom covering a trial, he would have to simultaneously watch the proceedings, blog to a website and record video. Somewhere, he could miss a key statement, weakening the story because of doing three things at once. Then he’d have to high-tail it back to the paper to not only finish the piece but edit the TV version.
Part of the erosion of print media relevance lies with their own self-imposed corporate straitjackets. Thou shalt not irritate big advertisers, especially new car dealers.
I expected peanuts and bottled water but they actually had hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, fresh veggies and such, probably justified to corporate bean counters by all the salary savings.
So the region’s major news source has divested itself of all its most experienced journalists, centuries of institutional memory, just in time for Nevada’s enhanced status as an early-caucus swing state in a wide-open presidential election.
Way to go, guys.
HAZARDS OF THE JOB. The Storey County DA brought misdemeanor assault charges against RGJ photographer Andy Barron as a result of an unfortunate confrontation with two rogue Tesla security guards. Barron’s vehicle window was smashed and he got cut out of his seatbelt by Elon Musk’s thugs, but Barron got busted.
Not to worry. As noted in my 2014 online Nevada Day column, Storey Sheriff Gerald Cook Antinoro is a master at botching crime scene investigations, so I hope Barron sues after exoneration.
If he gets enough to retire on, I wonder if the RGJ will throw him a party for leaving early.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.