This newspaper has only had three people wear the title of editor. There was myself, then Tom Walsh, and until a few weeks ago, Christopher Smart. After nearly five years, Walsh left our paper in 1996 for the Phoenix-based New Times chain of alternative newsweeklies. After stints in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, he left New Times and is currently editor of Sacramento News & Review. Opportunity knocked, Walsh answered, and he continues to make a name as an aggressive, dedicated member of the alternative press legion. Walsh is a good friend, and he’s not an army brat after all.
For the next six years, Smart reigned. We certainly had our share of big impact stories under Smart. He’s returned to The Salt Lake Tribune, where he already misspent 10 years of his youth. Must be battered wife syndrome—or the tug of his buddy Jay “our comics page rocks” Shelledy. But return to the Tribune he did, where he now covers that hotbed of local interest, Eastern Utah. Upon resigning, he told me “it was time”—a self-deprecating reference to his belief that his fuddy-duddy ways were in the way of progress here at City Weekly. Smart is a nice guy, and a fine reporter who will have a lasting legacy here. The people of Jensen are lucky to have him.
Now comes John Yewell, who takes the editor’s chair later this month. Yewell has worked at several alternative newspapers in a variety of capacities, ranging from contributor to editor. Among them are The Independent in Durham, N.C., Metro Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, Calif., and Twin Cities Reader in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. While at the Twin Cities Reader, Yewell became familiar with the late Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone. For a taste of the Yewell style, read his piece about Wellstone’s passing. We’re republishing it on page 16 of this issue.
It’s a bit interesting that Yewell submitted his first freelance piece to Glen Warchol, then editor of Twin Cities Reader. Ironically, Yewell became a master of the long-form style of journalism that hallmarks most alternative newspapers, while Warchol wastes away on that Salt Lake Tribune inanity called “Salt Substitute,” the daily’s latest contrived attempt to be hipp with two Ps. Holly Mullen also worked at the Twin Cities Reader and joined the Tribune with Warchol—or was it the other way around? I admit liking Mullen’s new column, though, even to the point of nearly sending her my canning recipes. Add to Warchol, Mullen and Smart the likes of Dan Nailen, Kevin Cantera and Tim Sullivan, and it’s clear the Tribune has a pretty good nucleus of folks with alternative newspaper experience. Chieu Hoi.
Yewell learned this craft under the tutelage of two people I greatly respect, David Carr and Claude Peck. With the elections behind us, it’s a given that Yewell will put their lessons to good use. Politics is a Yewell favorite and a staple in the City Weekly arsenal. Actually, the elections are overkill—there’s plenty of news to go around already in this bipolar city. You’re going to like Yewell. If you’re not one of the bad guys, that is.