Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
June 19, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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June 19, 1997

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10 Thursday, June 19, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette The continuing saga of the Nye County newspaper games by Mary Ann McNeill Gazette Publisher Sorry Rich. Sorry Henry. Sorry Dick. Warning: Watch out--for everything. I heard there was a big sigh of relief from you guys when I left, but I did not run away like a little wounded puppy. The old broad is a lot tougher than that! Don't mistake kindness and a quiet demeanor for weakness. (Thank you to the person who gave me that!) Someone said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" Well, my staff and I have been seriously scorned and crapped on. Revenge is very sweet, but the beauty of it is that when these things happen, l just seem to have to sit back, keep my mouth shut, and let God take his revenge with the lessons he teaches us. To better understand this you probably need to hear this little story. In Sylvester StaUone's recent hit movie, "Assas- sins," he is waiting in a bank knowing that Antonio Banderas is waiting to shoot him when he comes out the door. Julianne Moore is Stallone's accom- plice and, while they are waiting, he asks her to tell him a joke. She tells him roughly the following story: "Once upon a time there was this little sparrow. While flying South for the winter, he got cold and froze solid and fell to the ground. What's even worse is that acow came along and crapped on him. The manure was all warm and defroste[ him. He was then all warm and happy to be alive, so he began to sing. A hungry cat came along and cleared off the manure and ate him." The moral of the story is that not necessarily everyone who craps on you is your enemy. And everyone who gets you out of trap is not necessarily your friend. So, when you' re warm and happy, just keep your big mouth shut." I've found this little fable to be true so many times in my life, but there does come a time when one has to speak out and set the record straight. It's obvious that I have to do that now. I'm back at the Gazette now and I felt that the readers deserved an explanation as to what has happened and why the Gazette has looked so differently over the past several months. I have been silent for too long, but legal ramifications had to be worked out. r The true and complete story is such a sad little story that the gen- eral public would not benefit by knowing the specific details. But in a nutshell, there was something that , could be described as sort of a cor- porate takeover attempt and I was terminated. Almost my entire staff walked out in protest by the next week, even though I told them that they needed the jobs and shouldn't do that. Those that stayed on only did so because they could not financially do otherwise. Why did this happen? Some people were telling cruel and untrue stories about me and the owner began to believe them. (Lieseke and ClarkmWe have joked about your offices investigating me. You now know that my background is flawless. It probably bored the hell out of you.) If anyone else out there feels a need to investigate my background, they will find nothing more than a traffic ticket. Sorry to disappoint you. I've held a government secret clearance. I pay my full share of taxes. I try very hard to treat everyone with some degree of fairness, dignity and respect. I think this has been verified by the Support I received from every member of my staff and those in the community who have become acquainted with me over the past year. But I have found that not everyone else knows how to treat others with fairness, dignity and respect. I wish to deeply thank all those people in this. community who have come forward expressing their concern for me, wanting me to consult for them, or negotiating with mc to work for them: I have been truly humbled tofind out the signifmant number of people in this community that I have touched during my short year hea. And all those that have shown me concern, respect; My phone was ringing off the hook whik people know who you are and I love you alH I was publicly humilitated when this happened be- cause my job is a very public one, but I was somewhat prepared for this. I've seen it so many times in business during my career. A similar situation happened to me twenty years ago when I worked for a major metropolitan newspaper in Los Angeles. After I lost my job there, most of my "friends" and business associates wouldn't, or were too embarrassed to talk to me. You see, I was no longer in an important position to help them politically, socially, or financially. That did not happen with the people in this community. Some people have asked me, "But why did you come back?" Simply....because it's a job and I like it. What- ever this newspaper is, it does provide jobs that help support approximately 30 families. I want to live in this community and there are very few jobs around for someone with my skills. The singer, Tony Bennett recently said something like, "When you love your work, you never work a day in your life." That's where it's at with me and I'm now going to concentrate on the having-fun part of this job. I no longer have to concentrate on the winning-the-game part. God has already let me win the games I needed to win. And let's face it. I have been working as a chief over here. There can only be one chief at a time. The other guys certainly don't want to hire me because they want to be the Chief. And, with the kind of support I received from my staff, what else could I do? They all needed a job and they needed someone who could lead them that they trusted. Publishing a newspaper takes a significant amount of "I have just taken back our ship and my crew intends to sail it" ability, work and energy. !get cranky when I have to sift through all the crap in this job to find out what is really going on. But, I knew that I had to come back. The people involved in this realized that they had made a big mistake. They came to me and admired it. It takes a really big person to do that. In the recent hit movie, "Cutthroat Island," Geena Davis is a pirate who's crew is ambushed, shackled and thrown into the ship's hole. My staff felt like that. Through her own wits, Davis is not captured. She eventually comes back to free her men and take back their ship. I have just taken back our ship and my crew intends to sail it. I don't like writing these opinion editorials. But I have been very personally and publicly attacked and now I must defend myself if I am to ever have any credibility with the public again. One other thing I need to say now. Journalism is a professional discipline. Like all professional disciplines, you need to be educated somewhat to perform correct, legal, prudent, quality, attractive or entertaining work in that discipline. You can't just suddenly decide you're working journalist in this county who has put together a staff that has produced a first place prize winning publication in recent history. This contest was judged by an independent group of professional peers--the best group of people who are qualified to judge such a contest. Isn't it interesting how my staff were hastily picked up by other publications in this community after I found and trained them? Isn't it interesting to watch what people actually do rather than what they say? Having two newspapers in a community is absolutely essential to help ensure and protect the freedoms we take so fiercely in this country. Having three newspa- pers, several shoppers, numerous coupon books, maga- zines, advertising programs, TV stations, and radio stations hi a community of this size is silly. The advertising base can't support that many media. The,, exist only because there are so many political and social ' cliques, factions and prejudices that feel they must have their own voice. I continually have groups, individuals and advertis- ers come to me and ask me to tell their story because the other media refuse to do it or they feel they won't tell the story fairly and objectively because of past experience. I can only pledge to the public that I will do the best job my staff and I can do with limited resources, staff and equipment. I feel sorry for those elected and appointed officials in this county who do not return reporters' phone calls when investigating stories. The public is aware of the prejudices and favoritism apparent in this effort and it will come out at election time. Rich and Henry do a very good job of getting a lot of information about a lot of events out to the public in their publication. They have a lot more contacts than the Gazette does because they have been here a lot longer. But you will probably find out more about what's really going on in this county with this publication. They say it isn't over until the fat lady sings. Stay tuned for further developments. Film at eleven. P.S. I don't have a mean-spirited thought in my head towards anybody and I don't need revenge from the above scenario. I'm almost glad it happened because it sorted out all the players--both those involved in the immediate situation and virtually, throughout the whole county. But there comes a point in everyone's lives where they won't tolerate any more trap. In the 6/11 edition of the PVT, a reporter stated that Brian Lepley said he was prepar- J ing to start working at the Gazette. Lepley is the substitute teacher who allegedly molested some young boys. It's true that I was talking to Brian because he had experience as a reporter, had a responsible position in the school district, and had come highly recommended by someone connected to the district. However, the more I talked to,him, the more bizarre his situation appeared to be. I wa.5. in the process of trying to check out his resume further when he was arrested for the alleged sexual molestation of minors. I teach my staff to check with all sources. The Times reporter had ample time to call me and check this out and he failed to doso. This statement was not relevant to the story of 11. I'm telling this reporter:. Stop this, and stop it now. Don't take me on in this public arena. It' s not the right thing to do. The public will know that. Far from the perception that Nye county citizens are stupid|(as portrayed in some other media) I believe they are pretty smart. If some of them don't have high IQ scores, they possess the maturity and common sense that comes with fighting life's battles and surviving. Airing yourlinenin public is not appropriate. Whatmay going to become a doctor or an attorney or an accountant be fun and appropriate for highschool journalism is not and go out and do it without getting into trouble. That appropriate for community newspapers. I thought he had goes for being a publisher, as well. I spent 15 long, laborious years in school learning my craft and working full time because I didn't have parents to pay for it. It has recently been stated in some media here that their ideas for improvement have been copied. Almost every improvement seen in virtually all publications in this county during the past several months have been taken from my staff and I. I am the only degreed, learned that with a previous incident, but apparently not. This is not fair to me and to this staff, who the reporter says are his friends. I don't deserve it. I' ve done too much for him to be treated this way, and so have they. He's a better person than this, if he wants to be. I urge him to look up the journalists' code of ethics that I gave him. By the way, he was the one who urged me to talk to Lepley in the first place, months ago. 1 ii 1