I remember going to work with my dad when I was four or five years old. Saratoga Springs was like Gotham City to me and he may as well have been Bruce Wayne, a reporter covering the police beat for the Daily Gazette newspaper. I recall the dusty smell of his office and stacks of old newspapers in every corner. Back then, manual typewriters were preferred over computers, and I can still hear the clink-clank-clack of keypresses and basket shifts.
He began his news reporting career in the late '70s, back when there were five people on staff for every section of the paper: A business desk, a crime desk, arts & entertainment, and, of course, a sports desk. Cigarette smoke filled newsrooms, phones rang off the hook and reporters hustled to make deadline before the early edition (back when there was an early edition). The way he describes it, it was like a scene out of the City Room.
More than 30 years later, in his late 60's, and he's still at it. One of the few reporters that city officials actually enjoy talking to. His objectivity and professionalism is often rewarded with breaking news directly from the mayor or chief of police.
It's becoming more and more rare to find reporters like him. The old-school reporters. The ones who write news like Dylan wrote prose. And, believe me, news can be poetic. I've asked him a few times why he doesn't write a daily or weekly column. Isn't that what older, experienced reporters do? Nah, he'd say. But I could have answered my own question. He'd rather keep his opinions out of it and let the facts do the talking; preferring a meaty front-page story over pushing some idealistic point of view.
I hope to one day get him to write a book. That is, if he ever retires. I know it would be great. He's met so many fascinating people and has so many interesting stories. That, along with his love of classic American literature and knowledge of nearly every great battle that's ever taken place, would make for one hell of a memoir.
Father's Day was last week, but I'm thankful for and proud of my dad everyday.
Check out his bio here: