Sam Bauman ended a 53-year full-time journalism career when he left the Nevada Appeal on Friday.
It's a career that took him to several continents, and spanned changes in technology that went from typewriters to Web sites. But he managed the changes with ease, and plans to continue writing, no matter what technology brings.
"I just got my blog up," he said, referring to the Appeal's Web site, www.nevadaappeal.com, where he will continue to write and share his thoughts on politics, books, entertainment and anything else that piques his interest.
Bauman, 80, will also contribute occasionally to the Nevada Appeal, writing stories and columns on entertainment and outdoors topics.
His career began after he graduated from Ohio University in 1953, but he was called up to the Air Force shortly thereafter. His tour of duty as an intelligence officer took him to Saudi Arabia and Japan, and that kindled a lifelong passion for traveling.
His subsequent journalism career took him to many places overseas and in the U.S. He worked for the New York Herald Tribune in its Tokyo bureau, Stars and Stripes, Newsweek, the Associated Press, the New York Daily News and the L.A. Times, among others.
Those were the salad days of newspaper journalism, when newsrooms were bursting at the seams with employees.
"We had tons of people," he said. " We had so many people we were anxious for work."
Another local veteran journalist, Guy W. Farmer, has counted Bauman as a good friend since they met 12 years ago. Farmer, who writes a column for the Appeal's Opinion page, said he soon became impressed with Bauman's breadth of knowledge on everything from theology to journalism.
"Sam lives his life on his own terms," Farmer said. "He is a quiet and low- key fellow, but he runs deep."
The two shared a similar background with their foreign travels and now enjoy lunchtime conversation every Thursday along with former legislator Bob Thomas.
"He's been an asset to the Appeal because he's been so versatile ... he can do so many things," Farmer said. "I admire him a lot."
The job Bauman gets asked about most often is his nine years at Playboy Magazine, where he was editor of its VIP Magazine, with a circulation of 1 million. And yes " in answer to the question he is always asked " he did know Hugh Hefner, but not on a social basis. The job entailed lots of duties, and among them was interviewing the models ("what are your hobbies, do you like sports, do you like dancing ...").
He obviously doesn't consider those interviews to be among his greatest journalistic accomplishments. That distinction goes to his coverage of disasters during his time overseas, including a dam failure in Italy that killed 3,000 people and a plane crash near Mount Vesuvius (he was the first journalist on scene at both).
During his career, he learned five languages ("none of them particularly fluent these days") and had two sons, one born in Naples, Italy, and the other in Munich, Germany.
It was about 15 years ago when he decided to move to Lake Tahoe, where he could do regularly what he likes best of all " ski. He also began paying attention to the local paper " the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He let its editor know whenever he spotted something he didn't like, and that editor soon put him to work. He worked there a few years before moving to Carson City to work for the Appeal, which is also owned by Swift Communications.
The papers were smaller than what he'd been used to, but he soon found out he enjoyed being a journalist in a small community.
"I found it very rewarding because people knew me and talked to me about everything," he said.
As for the field he devoted his life to, he knows that young people are reading less these days and what that may mean for the printed page.
"It's very sad," he said. "The younger generations do not read, and if they do not read they do not buy papers," he said. "The Internet is the future and the paper is the past."
Travel is part of the plan, since he has a son who works for American Airlines. He's also considering working as a ski instructor this winter now that his recent knee replacement is healing well. And he'll continue to keep up his 10-book-per-month reading rate. He also wants to attend the Burning Man festival one more time.
He may move to Chicago or Minneapolis, where his sons live, but if so he'll spend plenty of time here.
"No matter what, I'll be back here to ski," he said. "I didn't go through all this pain with my knee not to use it."
- Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at email@example.com or 881-1221.