Friday, July 18, 2008

Good luck to the 'Friday Columnist'

Most of the locals know by now that a certain journalist at a certain local newspaper is no longer under the employ of the certain local newspaper.

This young person reached notoriety for not only his coverage of local events, but also for his op/ed articles that mainly appeared in the Friday edition of the Kingman Daily Miner. He seemed to be either loved or hated in Kingman, hardly any in-between. His writing would certainly create long conversations amongst many of the people I know that read the paper. And honestly, I looked forward to the Friday edition just to see if my blood would boil halfway through the piece.

I'll never forget the phone call one Friday morning from a pal. It was just a little after 6:00am and the voice on the phone simply told me to read the paper... and that I was going to be pissed. I happened to be part of the subject matter in the op/ed that morning and it was in that article where I learned that I'd probably lose a debate to a nine year old sister of the author.

This was my only response to the op/ed

I know what you may be thinking, now that this journalist doesn't have barrels of ink at his disposal that all the angst that I must have saved up will now come rushing out. That vengeance is now mine to take... but that won't be so.

It took awhile, but I actually came to respect the young man in the few weeks following that op/ed.

You see, he believed that I wrote something on this blog that was in error and came to my office for a discussion. The people here at the office knew that I was not very happy with this person at the time and wanted to make sure it was alright with me before allowing him into my office for a chat. I was surprised to know that he was here. As it turned out, the issue he had about what he read on this blog was not something that I actually wrote. MOCO's other contributor was the person he needed to speak to.

I was on the phone when I was informed that the 'Friday Columnist' was at this location and practically at the end of the phone conversation. However, I made the person on the other end of the phone stay on the line with me for another few minutes as I wanted the visitor to wait.

What came next I will not fully describe as it was not one of the more prouder moments in my life. Instead of just informing the young man that he needed to take up the issue with the other contributor and just moved him along and out of my office... words became heated. I take full responsibility for that. The dude stood his ground and fired back against any volley I made. The exchange probably lasted for no more than a couple of minutes. Again, not a moment that I am fond of due to my part of the confrontation.

No, no closure that day and the respect level certainly was not there at the moment. A couple of weeks later I run into him at the city complex. He is the last person I want to see since the run in at my office. Since it was a public place I knew that we wouldn't be revisiting what took place at the earlier occasion. Still though, I just wanted to keep my distance.

But he looks over at me and begins to say something about how he didn't write that to... and I cut him off. Basically I told him that it didn't matter, that I was over it, and even that my Dad thought his op/ed piece was entertaining (something along those lines). It was when he started to speak where he earned my respect and that put the whole thing away for me. The truth actually was though, until that moment I was still pissed. He proved to me that he was a stand up kind of person (your own mileage may vary... I'm only sharing my side of things).

Now I won't say that we became good friends or even friends at all after the entire episode ran its course. The way I viewed what followed would be akin to swimming in waters with a barracuda. I actually did snorkel one time off the Florida keys in close proximity to a real live and in the wild razor sharp toothed fish that could do plenty of damage... if provoked. Yet I learned that I could co-exist with the fish and enjoy my experience without fearing an attack. Just keep the an eye out and some distance and everything should be fine (no sudden movements). In fact that snorkeling experience would not be nearly as memorable if it wasn't for the barracuda entering my field of vision from the side about four feet away. The same thing applies to the 'Friday Columnist'.

So with all that settled down, next came some BS rumor mill talk that I was behind an effort to see to it that this young man was somehow fired from his now former place of employment. A rumor that was untrue, and even though it was untrue I still reached out to this dude and his boss letting them both know that I would never do such a thing (they both personally communicated back to me that they didn't think I would be a part of such nonsense). In fact I told people that if we really wanted to 'get rid' of him then we should be promoting him to other newspapers that pay more so that he would have incentive to leave on his own volition. Perhaps that may now have happened and is the reason he decided to move on.

Well for whatever the reason, I honestly wish him good fortune to wherever his journey takes him. It was an interesting couple of years... not good -- not bad... just interesting. I know he stumbles across this blog once in awhile and has even commented a few times (it has been appreciated).

We had a couple of more discussions since those days gone by in my office and I'm happy to say that they were fine discussions. Very civil and all that. While you may or may not like his writing style or attitude or whatever (I take issue with some of that still)... he is a nice young person with a great opportunity in front of him. I harbor no ill feelings towards him personally.

Good luck Nick.

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