Dying Editor Wants Values To Outlive Him p.12

By: Joe Nicholson AS HE PREPARES to write endit, journeyman journalist Verne "Pize" Peyser wants to leave a momento for those who share his love of newspapers.
Peyser, 67, has inoperable brain cancer. His oncologist gives him two or three months to live. He hopes friends will contribute, in lieu of flowers, to an annual award, in his name, managed by his former colleague, Jim Patten, at the Tucson campus of the University of Arizona.
Peyser, a junior high school dropout, wants the award to encourage outstanding students. "Within a short period I could be joining my late Father on that big copy desk in the sky (Lord, I hope my Dad's not in the slot.)" he recently wrote to former colleagues in a letter to E&P.
Although Peyser cut short his formal education when he turned into "a wild kid" and dropped out of seventh grade in Manitowac, Wis., he went on to dedicate 45 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers across the Midwest, West, Northwest and Southwest. His first newspaper job was at the Park County News, a weekly in Livingston, Mont. In place of credentials, he offered early experience with The Associated Press as well as enthusiasm for the work ? a trait inherited from his newspaperman father ? and maturity gained aboard Coast Guard buoy tenders on the Great Lakes.
Peyser went on to report on patrolmen and politicians, to read copy and hold sway as telegraph editor, city editor and metro editor at newspapers in Omaha and Fremont, Neb., Phoenix, Cottonwood and Bull Head City, Ariz., and Palm Springs and Ojai Valley, Calif. Twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he spent six years as metro editor at the Arizona Republic.
Recalling his days as a chain-smoking editor, Peyser wrote in an obit he has prepared that he kept a sign on his desk: "Thanks for not breathing while I smoke."
Along the way, Peyser's appreciation for serious news grew, along with his aversion to fluff. He was the top editor of two dailies and founded a third by combining a shopper and a weekly to form Arizona's Mohave Valley Daily News, which promptly won the 1991 Associated Press award for state "story of the year."
He retired five years ago to Manitowac and kept in touch with former co-workers, five children from a marriage that ended in divorce, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He fell ill while visiting his children in Phoenix last November.
?(E&P Web Site:http://www.mediainfo. com) [caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher April 11,1998) [Caption]


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here