Suzy and Jerry’s first comments on National Masters News
A year ago today, Suzy Hess and Jerry Wojcik were counting down the hours until the start of the new year — and the end of an era. On December 31, 2006, Suzy and Jerry closed the office of National Masters News in Eugene, Oregon. On January 1, 2007, Randy Sturgeon succeeded Suzy as publisher; Jerry was no longer editor. We haven’t heard much from Jerry and Suzy since then. So I shot them a note, and they jointly replied to a short series of questions. The upshot? They seem bite-my-tongue disappointed in NMN but are too gracious to make an issue of it. You be the judge.
A Q&A with Jerry and Suzy, their first public comments on the new NMN:
Masterstrack.com: What are you doing now?
Suzy and Jerry: We are doing a lot of things that retired people do. Such as play with the grandkids, work out, travel, read, watch movies, play golf, and play petanque. . . . . (Senior Editor) Angela Egremont is working in a real estate office.
Jerry Wojcik, a longtime editor and throws columnist at National Masters News, was a college English professor before joining NMN in 1983.
What do you miss most about producing NMN?
Seeing the finished copy hot off the press.
What do you miss least?
Do you have any contractual obligations to Randy Sturgeon?
Were you concerned about NMN in its first few months, given the many errors published under the first editor?
Yes we were concerned.
Did you communicate your concerns to Randy?
Have you been contacted by readers about concerns they have about NMN? If so, what are their concerns?
Yes. They say essentially: “The paper isn’t like it used to be.”
What are the strongest areas of NMN today, and why?
We like the short write-ups on athletes who have achieved All American (status). And, we like the Women’s Running section. And the small photos with page numbers on top of the front page are nice.
What are the weakest areas, and why?
Obvious errors in typos, misspelled names, lack of photos breaking up the text, poor quality black and white photos, weak schedule section, results format inconsistent, lack of proofreading standards. For example, on pg. 1 Jan. 2008, in one article the city and state is listed as South Pasadena, California (no comma) while below it Chapel Hill, North Carolina, (with a comma). In the other article the opening sentence lists Janesville, WI, which is the USPS abbreviation, not the accepted abbreviation. That’s on the front page. Also on the front page, one jump reads “Continued on page 17″ and the other jump reads “Cont’d on page31,” with no space between page and 31. Sometimes races are listed as 10K; other times as 10k.
What advice would you give editors Carmel and Larry Barnum on improving NMN?
Proof it so it is cleaner. Format it so it is easier to read. It’s difficult to follow articles. Edit and condense articles that are written by contributors.
What should the NMN Web site offer that it doesn’t now?
To maintain a good website takes a lot of time and is costly. We know they are changing the site in January 08.
How are your athletic lives going?
Just great. Last summer for the first time in a long time, Suzy started working out again and entered the weight pentathlon. Jerry consistently works out, weather permitting, and we both plan on entering more meets. We are also active in a number of other sports and clubs. (Audubon Club, Obsidian’s Outdoor Hiking Club, Portland Petanque Club.)
Suzy Hess, shooting at Charlotte in 2006, was in her element at masters nationals as publisher of National Masters News from the summer of 2002 to the end of 2006.