The boss retires

We are all DEVO, even Bob.

We are all DEVO, even Bob.

So long, Bob This is it. The last issue with Robert Speer as our chief. This time next week, Arts DEVO’s friend and current managing editor Melissa Daugherty will have taken over (Go, Mad Dog!) and Bob likely will be on top of a mountain or in the middle of a meadow communing with squirrels and flushing City Council agendas out of his brain.

As I’ve said before, I’ve been working at the CN&R with Bob for the better part of the last 10 years. And as I reflect on our time as co-workers, I’d say that those early days were like the appetizer to a decade-long five-course meal. As a newspaper newbie, I’d make brief little visits to the seasoned editor’s office for little tastes of interaction—a small bite of savory humble pie over another dangling modifier, maybe a spicy tidbit of irritated protest over suggestions that I completely rework another of my clever, flawlessly constructed intros. But that was just the teaser for the feast before us …

Alright, that’s enough of that. Even though most people won’t get the inside joke, it was worth starting with a nod to Bob’s tried-and-true weekly-paper-as-a-meal metaphor just to get a dozen or so laughs from CN&R editors past and present.

It’s almost summer. Beer me.

We already slobbered plenty over Bob at his retirement party, but there’s just one more thing I want to say.

I was an English major before I started here, and all I knew about journalism when I arrived was what I learned from one semester at the Butte College Roadrunner (under the tutelage of current CN&R news editor Tom Gascoyne) and what I gleaned from a year’s worth of being edited by local papers as a freelance arts and music writer. My journalism school was right here at this paper, and I learned how to write and edit and look at the world as a reporter from all the editors and writers I’ve shared my time with here.

Bob taught me a little bit of everything, naturally, but most important was his message of telling a good story: Locate the character and simply and clearly bring them to life for the reader. That the people of Chico are the center of the stories is what many feel makes the CN&R special, and what has woven the paper into the fabric of the community. And Bob has been the bulldog guarding the gate, chomping down on any lazy, trite, confusing or otherwise off-track prose (I have the bite marks to prove it) and never settling for half-assed work. He has taken the paper’s mission of serving the community serious, and his commitment to quality control has been infectious.

OK, enough with the sweet talk. Dessert is over. Time for a drink! Here’s to a happy and fulfilling retirement, Bob. Cheers!

Spreading the summer jam On a completely different note: After putting it on repeat for a dozen plays in a row, I am happy to say that the Mariah Carey and Miguel slow-jam collaboration “#Beautiful” is legit (even though the annoying hashtag in the title is nearly a deal-breaker). The simple, rough-sounding, looping guitar riff will be planted in my head for the rest of the year. I suddenly feel the need to be outside near the garden, with the barbecue fork in one hand and tasty cold one in the other.