Kick me, Kate

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m often asked what our relationship is to the Sacramento and Chico News & Reviews. It’s like this: We’re a regional chain—the three papers are owned by the same people. But we are so unchainlike that occasionally I’ll rail against chain newspapers (like that of our competitor over on Kuenzli), not thinking that readers could be thinking, “Well, yeah, Burghart, but aren’t you part of a chain?”

The reason I tend to forget we’re part of a chain is because, editorially, we’re independent, and my boss takes a very hands-off management role with me, but—truth be told—I work extremely closely with Sacramento, particularly art director Kate Murphy, who does most of our editorial layout and editorial design. She refuses to acknowledge the fact that she owes me deference because of my lofty position and advanced age, but other than that, she’s OK.

Nearly all that behind-the-scenes stuff is done in Sacramento—design, computers and systems, bookkeeping, —but we print in Paradise, Calif. At times, I feel a little like that Verizon can-you-hear-me-now guy with my network of friends behind me. Pick your metaphor, this paper would not exist without the support of our friends in Sac, particularly in the bad old days when this newspaper hemorrhaged money.

The relationship has made for interesting ways of working. We and Sac are different places in ways that are difficult to put into words. The things that made SN&R successful in Sacramento just about killed us back in the early days, when editors tried to “install” them in Reno. I guess it’s about attitude and sophistication. It’s like this: Casinos are the most sophisticated and complicated business there is, but from a San Francisco point of view, they’re kind of provincial and cheesy. Lay that sensibility over the city, and you’ll understand why a Reno newspaper has to have Reno people making decisions.

My Editor’s Note based on Kate Murphy’s suggestion that I write about her sure took me in unexpected directions.