For 40 years, I was the classic ink-stained wretch for newspapers that wanted the kind of news that doesn’t come from press releases. I spent a couple of decades smacking the bad guys in Fresno and being smacked right back. With the new century, I escaped to the coast, settling in Monterey as city editor at the Herald. I moved on to become the opinion page editor five years later though the publisher at the time was concerned that I might be too forthcoming for some in the community. For a couple of years, I also enjoyed the title of editor but downsizing and other factors ran me off.
Just another disenfranchised journalist. What sets me apart is that numerous people urged me to find a way to continue my public blathering on local topics such as water, lack of water and the people who profit by protecting the watery status quo. Some were downright pushy about it, and I’d like to especially thank Tony Dann and Susan Meister for encouraging me to spend less time worrying about my tomatoes and more time reading environmental impact reports.
Regularly joining me on this slog through the journalistic hinterlands has been Larry Parsons, another Herald escapee and one of the smartest people I know. I wish there were more regulars. Heck, I’d be happy with a few more occasionals. When we started this I thought we’d be flooded with submissions from the enlightened many who call Monterey County home. Not sure why that hasn’t worked out, but not giving up on it either.
Our goal here is to be a supplement to the local news report, to be interesting at the least, provocative at times and helpful to the common good whenever possible. The site is called the Partisan because someone had already taken the name http://Pretending to Be Fair and Balanced.
Not knowing a widget from a Gidget, I’d be lost here without the daily assistance of our webmaster, Paul Skolnick, one of the smartest and most normal people to ever work in television news. We were competitors a few years ago in Fresno, me for the Bee, him for some a station whose call letters I cannot recall. My job got easier when he left town. He eventually would be assignment editor at KNBC in Los Angles and managing editor at KCAL and some other station whose call letters I cannot recall.
By the way, after a hiatus caused by my former status as a newsroom manager, I have rejoined the Newspaper Guild, so I say with some pride that I’m a union shop.
The Monterey Bay Partisan welcomes comments and responses, suggestions and contributions from others of all persuasions. Send me your thoughts and we’ll try to find a spot for them. We do not, however, promise to promote artificial balance by printing nonsense..
You can find me at calkinsroyal@gmail. Hoping to hear from you.
Larry Parsons lives in Salinas and worked as a reporter and editor at the Monterey Herald and Salinas Californian for 30 years. He also reported at daily papers in Redding, Eureka, North San Diego County and Salem, Ore. His first journalism job was at a weekly in Garberville in southern Humboldt County, where he learned invaluable lessons about accuracy, community trust and looking readers in the eye every day.
He grew up in Bakersfield and Fresno, and attended Fresno State College and graduated from Humboldt State University. Many colleagues have said he is grumpy and moody. “They may have a point,” he says.
He co-owns two miniature dachshunds, some cats, an older Honda and far too many books. Don’t get him started talking about the NBA. He’s on Twitter @LParsons69.
Paul has been a technical advisor to the Monterey Bay Partisan since its launch in June 2014. A long-time broadcast journalist who has dabbled in print, he founded NewLede Media Services in 2010 to explore digital media and the ways it could further the ends of quality journalism. He operates several websites on a variety of topics, including a personal blog as well as a site devoted to journalism trends.
“In talking to Royal about his plans for the Partisan,” he said, “I saw a chance to have a hand in providing the kind of important reporting that is so vital to a community and its people. It didn’t hurt that the reporting was being provided by a guy who has been my friend for over 30 years and who is one of the finest journalists I’ve ever known.”