Guy W. Farmer: Nevada Appeal memories
As I was greeting old friends and enjoying yesterday’s Nevada Appeal 150th birthday party, I thought back over the years to my introduction to the Appeal in January 1962, when I was the newly minted Associated Press (AP) capital correspondent. The Appeal was one of the AP’s major clients in Northern Nevada and I spent considerable time at the newspaper’s office in the old Carson Brewing Co. building — now the Brewery Arts Center — the former home of Tahoe Beer.
At that time the Appeal newsroom was located on a wooden platform in the old building, and I feared that we’d fall through the floor at any moment. Among early Appeal staffers I remember my good friend Sue Morrow, the paper’s longtime city editor, and the late Bill Dolan, who was a jack of all trades at the Appeal for many years.
I also recall feisty young Editor Ed Allison, who defied the paper’s owner, Donrey Media, by endorsing his friend, Republican Lt. Gov. Paul Laxalt, over Democrat Sen. Howard Cannon in the 1964 Senate race, which Cannon won by 48 votes. The publisher pulled Allison’s endorsement, leaving a large blank space on the editorial page. What fun!
Another less enjoyable early memory is the AP person had to service the teletype machines at the Appeal and at KPTL Radio out on Hot Springs Road. The idea was to follow a rather complicated diagram by squirting oil into certain designated holes in the teletype machines. It was bad enough for a mechanical moron (me) to have to learn how to operate the noisy teletypes, but I never bargained for those monthly maintenance visits.
Teletypes punched holes in tapes and we always had tapes hanging all over the press room on the second floor of the Capitol. Lawmakers, who didn’t have their own palatial building in those days, often hung out in the press room, looking over our shoulders as we wrote our stories. In the early 1960s the Capitol Press Corps consisted of yours truly; the legendary Cy Ryan of United Press International (UPI), who now covers the capital for the Las Vegas Sun; Bob Smith of Reno Newspapers, and everybody’s favorite “stringer,” Guy Shipler, who worked for Time/Life.
My friend Guy passed away shortly after I returned to Carson in early 1996, and I took over his space on the Appeal’s Sunday opinion page. At the outset some folks said I was the “new Guy Shipler,” but I wasn’t because no one could replace him and his encyclopedic knowledge of state politics. Shipler urged me to return to Carson after I retired from the Foreign Service in 1995 and we had a running joke. “This town isn’t big enough for two Guys,” we’d tell each other, and the joke expanded after I met former State Archivist Guy Rocha, who’s the go-to guy on Nevada history. Fortunately, Carson is big enough for both of us.
I’m pleased to report I’ve enjoyed the full support of a series of Appeal publishers and editors through the last 19 years. I write my columns and they put up with my opinions, no matter how contrary they may be. When I started writing I told then-Publisher Jeff Ackerman and Editor Barry Smith I might offend an advertiser from time to time. “Great!” they replied (and I paraphrase), “that will make the paper more interesting.”
They and their successors have understood the independent role of an opinion columnist, and that relationship continues with current Publisher Mark Raymond and Editor Adam Trumble, who deal with my critics on occasion. Thanks, guys; I appreciate your support, and wish the Appeal many more years of high quality community journalism.
Guy W. Farmer has been the Appeal’s senior political columnist since 1996.