Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

News-Herald colleague David Glasier stands out among superior writers at the paper

If I could roll the pages of the calendar back to 1950 and try to enumerate all of the really first-rate writers I have been associated with at The News-Herald in that time span, the list would be uncontrollably long.
Let’s just say there were a lot of them, and they were masters of the written word. I hesitate to list them, however, because there were too many, and as sure as I named five dozen, No. 61 would pop up as a sin of omission, and I would have to say, “Oh yeah, I forgot him – or her.”
They labored in all areas of newspaper writing, from main news to sports, to feature writing, travel, entertainment, food, column writing and every other area that impacts the content of your daily paper.
So I will not name any because I would not know where to stop. But today I will focus on just one of them because I heard him speak at a meeting two weeks ago at LaVera Party Center, previously known as the Mounds Club, in Willoughby Hills.
David Glasier could have been a public speaker as well as a newspaper guy. But he chose the right career because to have gone the route of orating would have deprived the newspaper’s readers of an almost daily source of information and entertainment.
He held his audience, the members of the Willoughby Rotary Club, in the palm of his hand. I am glad I was in attendance, because when he concluded his prepared remarks he asked if there were any questions, and naturally, I had a few.
He mentioned, for instance, that his coverage beat had once been TV, but he failed to point out an item of interest that I felt obliged to bring up.
“Didn’t you,” I asked, “at one time hold a rather lofty position with the national organization of newspaper TV writers?”
He admitted that he had been president of that esteemed organization. He then elaborated that as president it had been his duty to set up the group’s annual conventions.
If they happened to be in Las Vegas, well, David had to arrange for all of his colleagues, from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles, to meet for their annual bash in Las Vegas.
Whatever it was that he did seemed to meet with the satisfaction of the nation’s TV scribes.
As we used to say in the Army, that was tough duty. But I digress.
What he did not get into was that, among his chores was reviewing all the TV shows before they came out.
He did an admirable job of it, although it entailed previewing an ungodly number of  programs and sitting in front of the TV for endless hours watching the tapes.
As you might imagine, he got hundreds of video tapes in the mail from the networks. But they served no useful purpose after David was finished with them, so he dumped them on the “TV Table” at the office, which led to a weekly scramble by staff members who, apparently, were hungry for entertainment.
I, of course, being in charge of the staff for many of those years, was in favor of any diversion that kept them out of restaurants and other places that served adult beverages.
Perhaps I am being unfair. Not all newspaper people frequent pubs. Some of them spend time in libraries, at art museums and other places where people of culture gather for fun and amusement.
“I grabbed many of those VCR tapes,” I told David, “but I used them to record movies on TV.”
“Sure,” he acknowledged. “You just punched out the tabs and taped over the holes.”
It was a common trick to avoid buying blank tapes.
Tapes have now given way to discs. I never figured out how to re-record on them. Someone in the audience recalled that David had done a lot of golf writing, along with playing prestigious courses up and down the coast. Which prompted me to ask, “Have you ever had a hole-in-one?”
I knew the answer to that one, because I was playing with David, Joe Cocozzo and Rick Stenger when he scored a memorable ace on a long (220 or so yards) par 3 on the back side of the new course at Quail Hollow.
It was a miserable day, dark, gloomy and raining, and we feared the ball was lost because it was headed straight for the green but we couldn’t find it anywhere.
We were all elated when we found it in the hole.
“I used one of those new hybrid clubs,” David commented.
Turns out he has four career aces. One of them, unfortunately, was witnessed only by him.
David has written some captivating series in the paper, including a step-by-step epic on the construction of Classic Park in Eastlake and the grisly details of the infamous cult murders in Kirtland.
But I relented in my questioning of him at the Mounds Club luncheon. I didn’t ask him about one of his specialties. That would be telling about the home-made pickles which he preserves and sells in the summertime at the outdoor farmers’ market in Downtown Willoughby.



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