The legendary Ann Arbor News journalists (1960-close)
~ BILL ANDERSON - was a very bright and thorough sports reporter, sporting thick, black frame glasses. A dedicated employee-journalist with the distracting habit of saying "a-huh, a-huh, a-huh..." while conversing. As nicely-mannered and friendly a writer to place a byline on a page.
~ DAVID BISHOP - Dave's changing disposition and physical posture gave definition to "a roller coaster ride" in the newsroom. With my sympathy, he battled the size of his waistline. Each week, he smoked as many big cigars as he played rounds of golf and his remarks were always unpredictable about his cigars, golf or in answer to anything. Dave served admirably and sacrificially as the first and now the last Ann Arbor News Ombudsman. It was someone's good idea (?) to have a staff member represent the News readers when the latter caught a miss-spelled word or a redundant phrase. His respect in the news room, however, sunk lower than Sarah Palin's popularity at a Democratic fundraiser. For fear that a bag of sugar would be unceremoniously dumped in his gas tank; Bishop exhibited his true brilliance by hopping off the Om-bus and remaining at the paper as a talented news editor.
~ DICK EMMONS - The late Dick Emmons has his spot in local newspaper annals as the only journalist to serve as City Editor at The News and later as the managing editor of the University of Michigan Alumni Magazine. He undoubtedly is one of the most published News products due to his avocation of light verse which remain a feature in The Wall Street Journal, McCall's Good Housekeeping, Golf Digest and Reader's Digest. A sample of his jest: "When watching basketball, my wife admittedly is lost. She sees a free throw, then inquires 'What do the others cost?"
~ FRED JAEGER, the late, crotchety-old-pressman at the News, was active in the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor. Native townie Sherry Springer, when a novice Kiwanis Club member, recalls the year he served as the Kiwanis rummage sale chairman, Jaeger and fellow senior Kiwanian Jim Morgan cornered Sherry at a weekly club meeting and cautioned him in unison, "Just stay out of the way!"
~ BILL KULSEA - The late Bill Kulsea was the best senior bureau chief to ever walk the halls of the State Capitol (sorry, Tim Skubick). His "nose for news" grew right from the crib. (He always wore a suit and tie and was a consummate gentleman.)
~ MARY MORGAN - No, not an old school journalist, but a 21st century version of an editor with the best traditional news instincts. No one ever scooped Mary Morgan as the News business editor. And you talk about a high tech pipeline? For nearly a decade, she covered Ann Arbor's dynamic, fast-paced, high-tech world like a blanket. Folks, she is good!
- BOB ROMAKER - His inherent news instincts and his versatility, made the late Bob Romaker one of the most respected journalists in the newsroom. His distinguished high level of reporter sensitivity was shared with me. I submitted a historical reflection about a fatal automobile accident near Dixboro that killed three U-M students and a couple from Plymouth headed to the Tulip Festival in Holland. Bob did not run it in the paper and when I asked why, he said, "Dale, little good is served in recalling life's tragedies."
- BILL TREML had Walter Winchell calling him for leads! In one day you might see Bill covering a brutal crime scene and then later, as a family man, cheering his son's tee-ball team on to victory. He was disciplined and never sat on a story. It was against his gut to witness a newsworthy event and then wait to write the story the next day. His Sunday columns "As I See It" were so conservative, that even William Buckley reportedly only waded through half-a-column at one sitting.
~ BUD VESTAL - in the mid-60's, Bud shared a prediction at lunch with me that I thought was totally out-of -bounds. The late Lansing Booth correspondent said, "If Richard Nixon ever becomes president, he will ruin the country." A little foreshadowing of the Watergate investigation and the subsequent resignation of President Nixon. Bud could read the character of a politician at a glance. Many of his experiences with the State's politicos he respectfully held from print, including the night a Michigan Governor slipped off the end of a piano bench in an intoxicated stuper. Bud did have faith in Gerald Ford- as a man and a politician- and wrote the former president's best biography.
Photo: The Ann Arbor News building stands vacant with its lights-out.
I'm a big believer in listening to the professional people who precede you My misfortune occurs when I neglect to follow my own advice. These folks above are just a handful of the enumerable Ann Arbor News alumni whose wisdom echo in my mind. It's amazing how in 24 hours the profound thoughts of many evolve into a newspaper or a web site for our reading pleasure. Freedom of the Press has its rightful place in the U.S. Constitution Top Ten. Dale R. Leslie 734.660.1023 or via email@example.com . Photos and some text: www.aadl.org/gallery/pictureAnnArbor/Dale+Leslie/dixboro