My Point of View / By Rolando Larraz
Everyone has their own favorite newsperson; we also have our favorite writers. I, as a news junky who listen to the news and reads several newspapers from sunrise to sunset, can testify to that.
As funny as it might seem, one of the writers I don’t read is Wayne Allyn Root, even if I agree with him more times than I’d like to admit. But I have a friend who reads him religiously and forces me to listen to her telling me all about what he wrote, sometimes even reading his whole column in the daily newspaper to me.
I am lucky that I do not need money so badly that I’d be tempted to write for a newspaper I no longer respect. Heck, I never agree with John L. Smith on anything and yet read him when he was in the spot that Wayne Allyn Root is in today.
I don’t like Wayne Allyn Root because I don’t like people who think they’re better than me. Before Donald Trump became our duly elected president and made Wayne Allyn Root better known (not famous or well known, just better known) I invited him to be a guest on my radio show and he wanted to play big shot with me, but it didn’t work.
I sent Wayne Allyn Root an email inviting him to be a guest on my radio show and someone responded for him, pretending to be a “scheduling assistant,” asking me hundreds of stupid questions that I never answered because I was not going to be treated with disrespect.
I used to look forward to Sunday’s newspaper so I could read Thomas Mitchell, Glen Cook, and Vin Suprynowicz, someone whose last name I can’t pronounce, yet if I was going to try to pronounce it with my accent, it might sound like an obscene word. Those are my favorite writers: intelligent, honest and brave.
Tom Mitchell was the big shot at the daily newspaper; he made the decisions, he hired and fired newsmen and -women; he was the man of the hour, but when the Federal Agents working one of Jerry Burgess’s cases subpoenaed me, Tom Mitchel, the big shot of the daily newspaper, came down to the federal courthouse to watch the trial and to make sure I was treated equally with the other newsmen.
Tom Mitchell did not care if I spoke with an accent or not; Tom Mitchell did not care that I was not in his circle of intellectuals, co-workers or friends; I think he came down to the federal courthouse to make sure that I was treated fairly or he would write about it in his Sunday column.
He did help; I was never called to testify and my hours of interviews with Jerry Burgess all of a sudden became unimportant to the federal agents who for years have worked against Burgess because they were never able to crucify him for a kidnapping he never committed.
Just last year, a publicity stunt by the daily newspaper wasted two pages defiling Jerry Burgess, which made me laugh because not one word in that article was close to the truth.
Getting back on track with my favorite news writers, at the top of my list is my late friend Ned Day, the same Ned Day who destroyed the North Las Vegas Valley Times newspaper when publisher Bob Brown gave him the opportunity of his life. Ned Day’s reporting placed the North Las Vegas Valley Times on the map after Bob Brown bought the newspaper from my friend Adam Yacenda, publishing articles that no one else had the audacity to publish. It was a team effort; Ned Day wrote them and Bob Brown published them, only I wish he would have stayed with political corruption and away from those mob articles that I believe cost him his life, but that is another column.
I don’t remember how I met Ned Day but it was back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he and his then-wife Julie lived; but one time, while I was passing by, we went to dinner with the Days and we ended up in their home where they graciously hosted us.
As always, politics, news, and journalism took center stage in our conversations, and — I’ll never forget it — out of the blue, Ned said to me “You write too much,”
“Do you mean I talk too much?” I asked him, and he responded, “No, no. You talk fine, but you write too long for your columns, editorials or commentaries that should be more precise.”
I insisted on digging out his opinion about me writing “too much,” and he — against his wife’s opinion — pleased me and went further into the issue of me writing too much.
“When writing an editorial, a column or a commentary,” he said, “one needs to get to the point, precisely, so the reader does not lose the train of thought. I read an editorial by you in Runway Magazine and while it was good it was too long and by the time I finished reading it, I had to go back to the beginning to remind myself what the topic was.”
I used to write two thousand words and after my trip to Milwaukee, I went down to half of that and now I try to stay within eight hundred or so words or I write two columns on the same topic. Thank you, Ned Day; even after death, you’re still my favorite in the business that we have chosen.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him
at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at 702-272-4634.