Sharon Gholdston 1949-2006

On Monday Don Meyers, editorial page editor at the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah called to tell me Sharon Gholdston died Saturday. Just this weekend I had been thinking about her. She was my first boss when I got back into journalism and was one of three people instrumental in my success at getting back in.
After the phone call I had a “She would have wanted it this way” moment. I had a 4 p.m. deadline for a story I was writing. I could either finish the story before getting to my thoughts about Sharon, or rush full boar into a tribute. I knew Sharon would want me to meet my deadline. I almost made it.
The Herald first hired me as a contract reporter. When I went to the Pacific Northwest to drop off clips and resumes, she convinced the editor to hire me full time so I’d stay.
Sharon was a good boss who carried a long leash on us reporters. I once got away with two-word lead — “Spring tempts.” — because she was willing to see how the effort to usher in a season poetically in a newspaper.
She was a good coach and a reporter’s advocate. She was having health issues back then, but got to work most every day and led a young reporting staff through deadlines and scoops and projects. She went to a Poynter seminar for a week and came back and led us through a lot of the exercises. She’d work with a reporter on a story to make it better, especially if it got turned in early.
Beyond her influence on my career, she was good people and made some of the best ribs I’d ever had. It was the newsroom tradition to pool the small cash awards the parent company would give us for monthly recognition and do an annual rib feast in her backyard. That was a good Saturday.
She was the first person to urge me to read Harry Potter, for which my daughter should show a great deal of gratitude.
Sharon was a Southerner who had blended quite well in Utah and, if I recall this correctly, made occasional polite retorts to any attacks on her native culture. I do recall her bristling when someone in the newsroom suggested putting a Krispy Kreme doughnut in the microwave. It just seemed sacrilege.
About two years ago I called her because of an editorial page editor job opening in Saint George. She’d had a single experience with the paper, not an especially good experience, so I called to hear her story. She was candid about what happened, but more than that I remember more how good it was to talk with her.
I owe her a lot and I hope God rewards her generously just for her influence on my life.

Her obituary is here until about the end of November.

Field of Steve

In Search Of: The San Francisco Giants

The Dodgers go into the weekend a game back of San Diego and a game up on the Phillies. Unfortunately, they have to play the Giants, which means folks in Frisco get their year made by spoiling it for the Dodgers, right?

No. Their team lays down and gets swept.

I’m a Dodger fan to the enth degree. One of the things we Dodger fans have learned to tolerate over the years is the unreasonable hatred from Giants’ fans and their team’s uncanny ability to ruin it for the Dodgers. But this year the Giants give away game one and bow out during two and three.

I’m glad the Dodgers are in the playoffs, believe me, but the Giants are complete wusses. They’re certainly not the Giants I remember.

Field of Steve

Howard Jones’ Appeal to Mormons

On Friday five of us went to the Howard Jones concert. We had seen him twice before when we were living in Utah. When I was an intern in DC I used to listen to him a lot, but Diana made me a fan again.

Diana kept in touch with the news about Howard Jones and most of his U.S. shows were in Utah. We noticed the connection, but didn’t think much of it.

When we went to the show on Friday, Diana said wouldn’t it be funny if we saw people from our ward. Well, we were the only ones from our ward, but there were two couples from our old ward and a former high councilman from our stake.

So what is it? He’s got good messages and he’s a decent guy. But there are lots of those out there. His music is also good, but there are lots of good musicians, and a fair amount that are decent people.

So why does Howard Jones have so many Mormon fans?

Field of Steve