Opinion Columns & Blogs

Henry DuPertuis: Thanks for memories

Henry DuPertuis, guest editor
Henry DuPertuis, guest editor Merced Sun-Star

At one time I entertained the idea of becoming a newspaper reporter. I visualized myself with that certain type of hat, the kind worn by the reporters and G men in the movies.

The entertainment only lasted a short time because I realized I didn't have a typewriter and I hated cursive writing.

Little did I know that 70 years later, I would become part of the newspaper business, although not as a reporter. I didn't even have to start at the bottom. I began meeting once a week with the editorial board of the Sun-Star as guest editor.

While I only lasted three month, it was a great experience.

The editorial board consists of Publisher Debbie Kuykendall, Executive Editor Mike Tharp, editorial page editor Keith Jones, online editor Brandon Bowers, news editor Jesse Chenault and me.

There will be a new guest editor after the first of October. There are disadvantages with starting near the top. You don't last long.

The first thing that happened was having my picture taken. I told Keith Jones before they took it that my wife would say that it doesn't look like me. In spite of the skill of the photographer Marci Stenberg, on seeing the picture, my wife told me that it doesn't look like me. And Marci is an excellent photographer. You can't fool the camera.

Because of the movies, I had always visualized a newsroom being noisy.

People shouting "copy boy", and "Hold the presses" and things like that. But it's really not that way.

In fact, you can't even hear clicking of typewriters any more -- because of word processors.

Just think, if there had been computers in my day I may have become a Gabriel Heater or someone. If you never heard of Gabriel Heater, don't ask.

I never had to worry about the newsroom because we met in the publisher's office. I never even got to learn how the presses work or if they even use presses anymore. I'm sure they don't still use linotype like they used to. I didn't see any "ink stained wretches" around.

Meeting with the editors was a wonderful experience. They listened to me, sometimes just to be polite I'm sure, but I always felt that I was really part of the group. Some of my ideas even made it to the editorial page.

Since I have always liked to write, I was happy to have some of my columns published in the editorial page. In spite of what my wife thinks, it is really me at the top of the columns. Now that I am no longer an editor maybe we can auction off the picture. My wife won't bid on it.

I would like to thank the Sun-Star, especially the editorial board for giving me a wonderful experience. They were respectful to what I said and to each other. The interviews with various politicians and public figures were fair to each point-of-view, even if they didn't always agree.

I can assure the new guest editor that he or she will have a very interesting three months. The growing intensity of the campaign and the election itself will be the subject of some good discussions.

The new guest editor's opinions will surely be considered when it is time for the editorial board to make their recommendations on the various political issues and candidates.

I will be watching the editorial page with greater interest because of my experiences the last three months. Maybe I can think up a cartoon or two.

Henry DuPertuis is a retired architect who lives in Merced.