Organize a newsroom and be prepared to begin producing a daily on-line newspaper in Eugene, Ore., by March 1, was the assignment that I received during a dream this morning.
Staff members will be expected to work a four-day week, will be paid top guild wages, will receive two months of paid vacation and sick leave annually and will be covered for medical and dental expenses.
No retirement benefits, however, because when you sign up you sign on for life.
I immediately began shuffling through names of former Register-Guard staff members I worked with on the Eugene daily newspaper and who may still be alive:
First, I chose Jacqui Banasynski as my editor. Although Jacqui has only worked for newspapers like The Seattle Times, picked up a Pulitzer Prize and taught journalism at the University of Missouri, she is obviously qualified to handle the editor’s job despite a bum knee and a penchant for communicating with journalists worldwide.
I was going to invite her sidekick Don Nelson to handle county correspondence for our new paper in Eugene but realized that he’s holed up editing and publishing a weekly newspaper in Methow, Washington.
The editorial staff selection was a no-brainer: Hire the best in the business: Jackman Wilson, Paul Neville and Don Robinson.
If Barrie Hartman declines our offer to return from Colorado to serve as our managing editor, then I’ll check with Dave Baker, who may prefer to serve as our public relations officer.
Lloyd Paseman, who was city editor of The Register-Guard for a zillion years, certainly knows how to handle a staff of reporters but may prefer to be the movie reviewer.
Ron Bellamy tops my list of picks for sports editor. I am concerned, however, because he may spend most of his time golfing. I would hope that he could persuade Mike Stahlberg to return to Eugene from Hawaii and to serve as our fish and game columnist.
Chris Frisella will serve as copy chief. Jeff Wright, Dave Emery and Ross Carletta may be available although Emery tends to throw too many commas in the hell box and Carletta tends to spend too much time fly-fishing.
Tom Penix gets the nod for the designer’s position.
Lisa Strycker, who is the fastest typist in the world, will serve as our research and development director.
Bob Keefer, who creates magic with words and pictures, may be willing to leave his Creswell farm long enough to serve as our environmental editor.
Cathy Henkle, who spent some time with The Seattle Times, may be willing to serve as the photo editor if she doesn’t spend all her time photographing sunsets.
Carolyn Kortge, one of our all-time most outstanding lifestyle writers, will serve as editor of that department.
Fred Crafts gets the nod as our arts and entertainment editor. He tends, however, to live in the past by producing a radio show.
Steve Smith, an itinerant journalist, may be willing to leave his university teaching job long enough to serve as our ombudsman.
We’re going to hire two of the best columnists in the business and turn them loose to roam the world in search of stories: Karen McCowan and Bob Welch.
We’ll cover the region, as The Register-Guard once did, with bureaus headed by seasoned journalists: Larry Bacon, Oregon Coast; Doug Bates, Oakridge; Mike Thoele, Junction City: and John Thompson, Cottage Grove.
Our reporting staff will include:
Diane Dietz, investigative reporter
Ann Baker Mack, higher education
Don Bishoff, local government
Randi Bjornstad, general assignment
I probably have overlooked potential candidates for staff positions. Keep in mind, however, that I’m pushing 90, and I still live in the land of typewriters, carbon paper and paste pots.
Keep in mind, too, that I dream a lot.