Letters

A Good Sport
I was disappointed to read the one-sided piece you ran on David Burgin, editor of the Alameda Newspaper Group ("Final Deadline," May 29). Your writers never talked to me, who has known Dave for 13 years and worked with him off and on during that time. They didn't talk to other journalists like me all over the country who owe our careers to him. He plucked me off the regional copy desk of the Orlando Sentinel when I was an introverted 23-year-old copy editor and put me in the sports department. I had never written a newspaper story in my life, but Dave always has had a special sense about writers. After a year of writing the odd story about ice hockey in Florida and covering some tennis and football, he gave me a column once a week, for which I felt completely unqualified. I wrote a column early on about how golf isn't a sport, poking fun at the clothes and the unathleticism of it all. My colleagues, knowing how seriously Dave takes golf, advised me not to run it. "He wouldn't like it," they warned. But of course I ran it anyway. Sure enough, the next morning I got a call at home from Dave's secretary.

"Mr. Burgin would like to speak with you," she said.
My 24-year-old heart pounded. This was it. What could I have been thinking to run that column?

"I'm giving you a raise," he said. "Great column. Everybody in town is talking about it. I don't agree with it, but it was a great column."

Though he was editor of the paper and had more important things to do, he would take the time to edit my columns, pointing out every split infinitive and cliche. While my sports colleagues encouraged me not to be a "female" sports columnist, Dave insisted I do the opposite. He wanted a strong female presence in the section. And he knew, of course, that allowing my inescapably "feminine" voice to emerge was the only way I would find my true voice as a columnist.

Dave hired me at the Examiner when he became editor there and, even when he left, was -- and has been -- a gracious and supportive mentor, building up my confidence when I needed it most, giving me ideas, listening to my gripes, and sharing in my triumphs. You did him a grave disservice with the article you ran. We ought to be paying tribute to a career that has touched and changed the lives of so many journalists instead of tearing it down.

Joan Ryan, Columnist
San Francisco Chronicle

Minor Offense
Regarding "Against All Odds" (May 22): Interesting story and worthy topic, but when writer Ellen McGarrahan, out of nowhere, takes an unfounded shot at Nevada, I have to set you hipsters straight. The article says that marriage to a minor is legal in Nevada. Did you check your facts or just make this up? I guess since the paragraph was irrelevant to an otherwise pressing topic, the writer just assumed, as most Californians do, that the Silver State is filled with a bunch of inbreds seeking "child-bride(s)" and "Cub Scout-spouse(s)," as the article not-so-cleverly insinuated. In fact, our state statutes specify, "A male and female person, at least 18 years of age ... may be joined in marriage." Faulty reporting such as this gives alternative journalism a bad name.

Brad Summerhill, Staff Writer
Reno News & Review

Ellen McGarrahan replies: According to Nevada law, minors may in fact marry with parental permission.

Breath of Foul Air
What was the intention of Slap Shots ("Take My Breath Away," May 22)?
I was thoroughly discouraged by the poor taste (no pun intended) that Jack Boulware showed in his writing. Who needed this information? Whether you like our DA or not, this was a useless insult to Terence Hallinan. Wake up people. It is time to start working together for a better city, not perpetuating the bullshit that keeps us bogged down in the unnecessary, petty, and insulting rumors.

Carla Caletti
North Beach

Sitting and Stinking
Regarding "Willie and the Hand Jive" (Bay View, May 22) and Slap Shots ("Take My Breath Away"): Either one of the pieces would have firmly established Jack Boulware and SF Weekly as politically and intellectually ineffectual. Back to back, they sink your political credibility like a boulder in a rowboat. The Willie piece is just a dumb lump that sits there, but the Hallinan piece sits there and stinks.

I suggest that you cut your losses, give up your political coverage, and just accept that you are the weekly calendar.

Dan Coleman
Van Ness Corridor

 
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