February 6, 2013

Hitching a ride on Richard Branson's SpaceShipOne

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - I have had a great run in the news-journalism-writing business, starting at the Napa Register newspaper in Napa, Calif. and now with the Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York.

In Napa, I was hired just as I graduated from college and spent a summer writing obituaries, chasing firetrucks and generally dealing with all the stories that the veteran reporters didn't want to touch. With the daily Finger Lakes Times, I write a once-a-week column on the topic of my choice. The freedom to do that is awesome.

In between these two bracketing media experiences, I worked at six newspapers in a variety of editing/writing capacities, almost always with fun people. Fun or not, they were always interesting. Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and few other social media outfits, I have reconnected with many of those fun/interesting people.

Just yesterday, after I posted a story about entrepreneur Richard Branson, a former colleague told me about the time her husband - also a journalist -  had interviewed Branson. She was kind enough to send along this photo.

The fellow interviewing Branson is Dave Koenig, who, along with his wife Darlene Bryant, worked with me at the Chico Enterprise-Record back in 1981. Gawd that was a long time ago. I came in as news editor, Dave was a reporter and I was lucky enough to get Darlene to move from reporting to copy editing. She was an excellent copy editor.

My experience at that newspaper - because the publisher was, to put it kindly, a difficult man - wasn't all that good, except for interacting with people like Dave and Darlene.

How difficult was that publisher? Well, my first day on the job, before I had even met the staff of about 25 people, he gave me the names of five people he wanted me to fire - that day. I declined, saying I needed time to evaluate everybody before any action was taken. I am still surprised to this day I kept my job for the five months that I did before I joined the faculty at Chico State University.

But, all that nostalgia aside, my big question for Dave Koenig is this:

Can he get me a complimentary ride on Branson's Virgin Galactic SpaceShipOne? I don't get seasick anymore. Promise!

1 comment:

Randy Crutcher, Ed.D. said...


You've identified one of the primary work passions listed by people when we give them a specialized Passion Test to help them clarify what they love about their work. For so many, perhaps most, it is the people they work with that give them so much joy.
And by the way, Janet and Chris Attwood, co-authors of the NY Times best-selling book The Passion Test (holding steady in the top 100 at Amazon!) presented Richard Branson with the first Global Passion Award. That probably needs no explanation.
And now our new home state of New Mexico, (not mentioned in your post is hoping to hold onto the revenue generated by the new space port.