By: Joe Strupp
At the Experience Music Project, Seattle?s musical, historical, and cultural explosion, McClatchy officials threw their own party Tuesday night for ASNE members. After outgoing ASNE president and Sacramento Bee Editor Rick Rodriguez joined McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt and Howard Weaver, its vice president of news, in something of a receiving line, Pruitt took the mic and welcomed visitors to the Jimi Hendrix-themed location.
?In the immortal words of Jimi Hendrix, Excuse me while I kiss the sky,? Pruitt declared. ?And that?s sky, not guy.?
While some of those in attendance took part in a few of the interactive exhibits that allowed them to listen to historic tunes, see memorabilia and even try their hand at the instruments of rock, most stuck to the open bar and the platters of skewered chicken, salmon nuggets and cheese platters.
Marshall Ingwerson, managing editor of the Christian Science Monitor, expressed his happiness that reporter Jill Carroll was back on U.S. soil after months of Iraq captivity. Noting that she was currently writing her own story of what happened for the paper, he declined to say exactly when it might run in the Monitor, hinting that ?it won?t be days, but it won?t be months.?
At one point, two old New York Times veterans discussed the paper?s current state of affairs. Seymour Topping, who served in several jobs at the paper, including foreign editor and managing editor, and later ran the Pulitzer Prizes, shared thoughts with Al Siegel, the paper?s 44-year newsroom hound who is to retire in two weeks. Topping said he was not liking the Times? decision to follow many other newspapers and eliminate full stock listings.
?I wasn?t happy with it,? Topping said. ?I have older friends in their 60s and 70s, and they are now reading The Wall Street Journal.? Siegel, who among other things penned the famed Siegel Report that offered improvements in the face of the Jayson Blair scandal, said he was to have left the paper this week, but did not want to end his New York Times career in Seattle.
The two Times stalwarts also shot back at the Times bashing of recent years, from Blair to Judy Miller. ?There is always a tendency to criticize the big guy when their foot slips a little bit,? said Topping. ?But I still think it is the best paper in the world.?
As for John Temple, editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, he spent most of the night accepting congratulations for his paper?s double-Pulitzer win last week in feature writing and photography for its compelling coverage of a local Marine who must welcome home the deceased soldiers form Iraq.
Temple admitted that he was among the many Pulitzer winners who found out the good news the weekend prior to the Monday announcement on April 17.
?I picked up two cases of champagne on the way to work that morning, but I put them away and told my secretary not to do anything until the winners were announced,? he said. ?Until that name appears on the computer screen, do not do anything.?