Noone Column: Yesterday and today in the Appeal newsroom
May 20, 2012
We had some good news and some bad news last week at the Nevada Appeal.
When someone gives me a choice, I always want the bad news first. Hearing the good news first always dampens my enjoyment of it, since I know the other shoe is about to fall. And there’s always the possibility that the bad news will cancel out the good.
So let’s just rip the Band-Aid off: Appeal city reporter Sandi Hoover, a veteran journalist in our town, is hanging up her reporter’s notebook and calling it quits.
I was taught that a gentleman never asks a lady’s age – that would probably be an HR felony, anyway – so suffice to say that Sandi has kids and grandkids and a mom with whom she wants to spend more time.
Though she has said all the right things – she’s been happy here, she has mixed feelings about leaving, etc. – she’s had a certain spring in her step since she gave notice. And who can blame her?
She’s lived in Carson City for decades, so you’ll no doubt see her around town from time to time. And I’m still twisting her arm to come back and do some freelance for us. In the meantime, we’ll be filling her position – but we’ll reserve judgment on whether we’re truly replacing her. That’s going to be a challenge because Sandi has deep roots, many sources and countless friends in the community. She’s also a cheerful newsroom presence who will be sincerely missed.
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Now for the good news – for us, anyway. The Appeal won a prestigious company award last week for our multimedia news coverage of last fall’s IHOP shootings. Sadly, in this business, it’s too often a three-alarm tragedy that forces us to step up and do our best work.
The Appeal’s former police reporter, F.T. Norton, who has since moved on, anchored the IHOP coverage for us. However, other newsroom heroes from that day are still with us, and I’d like to personally congratulate news editor Adam Trumble, reporter Teri Vance, Sandi and photographers Shannon Litz and Jim Grant.
As we and our peers gathered last week for the awards ceremony, the front pages from those fateful September days came alive via PowerPoint. The video links and photo galleries are every bit as haunting today as they were in the immediate aftermath of the massacre.
But just as police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency first-responders often do their best work under the worst circumstances, so too do journalists. Our whole newsroom pitched in after the shootings to write the stories, create the photographs and graphics, lay out the pages and craft the bold, stalk headlines that chronicled the events of the day.
Our online chat room, Cover It Live, was abuzz that day with more than 23,000 unique visitors. Our stories were quoted worldwide, and our reporters and editors were quizzed by other media outlets too remote to send their own reporters to cover the story.
We had exclusive online video that day and in the ensuing weeks, and so many hits on our website that we had to reroute some internal e-traffic to ensure that our servers wouldn’t crash.
Depending on your views of the proposed City Center Project, last week brought either good news or bad, as the Board of Supervisors continued moving apace on a ballot initiative for the proposed project (the library/plaza/parking garage). After years of talk, revisions, petitions, more revisions and more talk, any movement is good – one way or the other.
And one more bit of good news: The V&T Railroad is now projected to finish 2013 in the black instead of the red. The bad news: Until the Nevada Department of Transportation came through with a $212,000 grant, the railroad would have finished in the red. A balanced budget and a chance to extend the line – those are good things.
Here’s a reminder for politics junkies: Tuesday evening is the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored candidates forum in the Board of Supervisors race. Here’s your chance to quiz the hopefuls on what they’d do if elected.
And finally, we’ll close with a shameless plug: If you’re not busy midday Tuesday, drop by the chamber’s monthly “Soup’s On” lunch at the Gold Dust West casino. Appeal Publisher Mark Raymond and I are the guest speakers, and you never know what we might say.
• Editor Dennis Noone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.