Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Andrew Romanoff, prickly college paper editor? Get him rewrite!

While Facebook entries will come back to haunt college students of today, earlier generations get to hide their more humiliating chapters -- unless, of course, they worked on their college papers, as Andrew Romanoff did.

Not only do those papers mean hard copies of history exist, but so do the tough judgments of post-adolescent peers, as Washington Post writer Dana Milbank makes clear in "Andrew Romanoff's Cynical Fratricide," his Sunday column that's republished in the Denver Post today.

When Milbank was a freshman working on his college paper (the Yale Daily News, the editor was a "talented but prickly junior by the name of Andrew Romanoff," he writes, and "he clashed so fiercely with the newspaper's business staff that he and the publisher communicated only through written memo. Instead of putting all effort into the newspaper, energy was wasted on internal squabbles."

At my college paper, the Cornell Daily Sun, the publisher never dared to venture into the newsroom -- and whenever someone from the business side entered the composing room, the production manager threw wadded paper at the intruder and shouted him/her out the door.

For a more marketable memory of Romanoff's tenure as editor, here's a quote from the Denver Post back in 2008, before he was challenging Michael Bennet for the U.S. Senate seat, before he was angling for a job in the Obama administration that was only dangled by the White House after he announced he was running:

"Andrew would generally stay at the Daily News Building until the early hours of the morning to make sure that his articles would retain their integrity during the editing process, and if cuts needed to be made, he would make them himself," longtime friend Timothy Davidson told Jennifer Brown. "Andrew would broker our various opinions and arguments, and create editorials that were eloquent and powerful expressions of our moment in time."

At this moment in time, we could use some more eloquence.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun