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http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=1921

 

From: Russ, Bellevue

Published Tuesday, May 29, 2007

 

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Tom,

 

I love your column, even though I do not always agree with you. You always seem to make a valid point, and you are not afraid to admit when you are wrong. I have to say the interview you did with Steve Pederson was one of your best. You asked very pointed questions that needed to be answered by him, and I appreciated how he answered them.

 

My question is, did you do the interview to get answers for sports fans or did you do the interview to maybe heal some wounds between the two of you? Either way, I applaud you both for doing a great job of asking and answering what most fans wanted to know. I hope both of you continue to do what you do best and I hope you two can become better friends now that you both understand each other better.

 

Russ:

 

I'm glad you asked that question. There's something I've wanted to get off my chest. Might as well do it here.

 

I was taught a way to do things, in journalism school at Missouri, and by a couple of Hall of Famers, Tracy Ringolsby (Rocky Mountain News, baseball writer who made Cooperstown) and Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, pro football writer inducted in Canton), along the way. There are a few simple rules. One of them is if you are going to criticize someone, get their side of the story first. Then, you can still rip them if you still disagree. Now, we can't always do this because of deadlines and breaking news. But this is a preferable way to do business, for a couple reasons. One, it's fair. Two, you avoid giving your subject the loophole of saying, "You never talked to me, here's the real story" and having a hole in your story/column. Three, the subjects appreciate the chance to give their side and it helps you in future conservations, relationships, etc.

 

Not everyone does it this way. There are plenty of columnists who will rip a coach, player and never talk to them. It's a columnists' right and prerogative. But it's not how I was taught.

 

I didn't do that with Steve Pederson when I wrote the "fortress" column. I wish I would have talked to Pederson ahead of time and gotten the "security" angle. I still don't like the security guard. I still think Pederson had been hiding. It wouldn't have altered how I felt or what I wrote. But it would have made for a more rounded, more complete column. That it was less is my regret.

 

Pederson and I met a few weeks ago (I called the meeting) at a coffee shop in the Haymarket area of Lincoln. We sat outside by the sidewalk and talked for an hour about this very topic (you should have seen some of the strange looks we got!). We had had a good working relationship over the years. I don't agree with everything he does. But it's my job to talk to the newsmakers in our sports world. And it's Pederson's job to talk to us. He hadn't done that a lot, either. So it was good for both of us to air things out and move on with a better relationship.

 

Why not call him? I'll be honest. It was lazy. And, I can't lie to you: it's easy for me to get caught up in the talk radio/chat room world we live in, where quick hits on players and coaches and A.D.'s are done in driveby fashion. I got caught up in that. I am trying to get away from the talk radio and chat room world. There's nothing wrong with those things. They're very addictive. But now I'm done. I guarantee you, my family appreciates it!

 

Well, except for this forum. Keep the questions coming.

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When was the interview between him and Pederson published? That reminds me that I still need to subscribe the World Herald for Sunday's editions.

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I was taught a way to do things, in journalism school at Missouri, and by a couple of Hall of Famers, Tracy Ringolsby (Rocky Mountain News, baseball writer who made Cooperstown) and Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, pro football writer inducted in Canton), along the way.

 

:asshat

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