Friday, April 12, 2024

Huckleberries: Talk about burying the lead

| August 28, 2020 1:00 AM

Clyde Bentley packed off a piece of Coeur d’Alene Press history when he left the newsroom in 1988 – an Aug. 8, 1945, edition of the newspaper.

The issue, which the former managing editor had picked up at a yard sale, was one of a stack of papers that followed him to various journalism stops. They chronicled notable world events, including John Glenn’s historic 1962 space flight and President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

World War II buffs know what happened 75 years ago in early August. The U.S. dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, bringing the war near an end. The wire story began:

“The obliterating blast of a single atomic bomb dropped by a lone superfort destroyed 60 percent of the important Japanese city of Hiroshima. Tokyo admitted that practically nothing escaped death in its scorching path.”

Strangely, the bombing of Hiroshima wasn’t the lead story in the Press that day. A double-decker banner headline told of Russia declaring war on Japan. Within a month, Russia’s declaration would be a non-event as Japan, reeling from a second A-bomb attack, on Nagasaki, officially surrendered.

The old Press edition hung for some time on Clyde’s office wall at the prestigious Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. He told Huckleberries:

“I often used it to demonstrate how our definition of ‘news’ changes. Nuclear war seems unimaginably horrible today, but in 1945 the bombing of Hiroshima did not even warrant the top headline on Page 1.”

In 1981, Clyde joined the Coeur d’Alene Press as news editor, which means he was in charge of putting the paper together. Later, he moved up to city editor and then managing editor (1987-88). Then, he followed his wife to Austin, Texas, where she had an executive job and he pursued a master’s degree in media management. His goal was to become a newspaper publisher.

At this point, Huckleberries will use a Seinfeld “and yada, yada, yada,” to bring us to the year 2000, when Clyde was recruited by the University of Missouri, site of the world’s oldest journalism school. Clyde says, “I specialized in breaking journalistic molds.”

Among other innovative things, he started one of the first citizen journalism publications in the country and developed strategies for using mobile phones at newspapers “when most journalists were using flip phones.” Also, he fed his old newsroom habit by teaching opinion writing.

Clyde, who retired from Mizzou in 2017, never became a publisher. He did much better than that.

Going batty

You may think things are going batty in North Idaho and the world since the advent of COVID Cooties. But Brian Walker, the long-time former Coeur d'Alene Press reporter, may think they're going even battier after Wednesday morning.

Brian, now communications coordinator for the University of Idaho in Moscow, arrived for work Wednesday to find that a bat had moved into a cove near the front door of Mary Forney Hall. A former dorm for women, the building has been converted to offices. The cove, Brian tells Huckleberries, had a spooky feel to it, even without the bat. Brian and other staffers at Mary Forney Hall, of course, now refer to the cove as the “Bat Cave.”


· Poet’s Corner: The yellow bus came by today/and carried summertime away – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“School”).

· Marianne Love, the former Sandpoint High instructor, walked up and down her country lane twice this week before noticing her shoes didn’t match. Both were light-colored Sketchers. Then, she laughed. She explained on her Slight Detour blog: “These days, wearing the wrong shoes on the right feet probably fits right in with what’s normal.” Bingo!

· Tom Hearn, the former Coeur d’Alene school trustee, wonders how long it’ll be before someone flips him off or vandalizes his vehicle. After all, there’s a new Joe Biden sticker attached to his bumper. Sez Tom: “In 2008, with an Obama sticker, it didn’t take long.”

· Signs of the Time (on Davis Donuts readerboard): “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving isn’t for you.”

· The tattered poem, “On Cooking Captain Cook” by Brandy Nalani McDougall, nailed to Telephone Pole No. 7000853 at Ninth and Locust, can mean only one thing: Octogenarian Roger Dunsmore, of Coeur d’Alene, an acclaimed poet and former UMontana prof, is still spreading poetry to the masses each month, one telephone pole at a time.

Parting Shot

Ron Roizen of Wallace tells a tale from “a life-time ago” of his then-wife brewing up a big batch of marmalade. She divvied up her creation into small jars, to be sent out as small Christmas gifts to colleagues and friends in their hometown of Berkeley, Calif. After Christmas, a professor called Ron to profusely thank him for the Christmas gift. “Oh,” said Ron, surprised, “we gave the same thing to everyone.” Later, Ron learned that the prof’s wife was pregnant with her first baby. The Roizens had given Mr. and Mrs. Professor their entire stock of old baby clothes, freshly laundered.

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at


A copy of the Coeur d'Alene Press from Aug. 8, 1945.