Step aside Rufus of the Wenatchee World; here comes Jeff Ackerman!

And Rufus

Wonders never cease! When we last visited The Union’s former publisher, Jeff Ackerman, the Swift-owned newspaper he worked at next, the Roseburg (Ore.) News-Review, was sold and he “retired.” (It looked to me like the newspaper was sold out from under him,  but the press release of his new employer said he “orchestrated” the sale. You go Jeff!)

At the time, Ackerman wrote: “It’s time for a parade. ‘Jeff,’ a guy once advised. ‘If they decide to run you out of town, get to the head of the line and make it look like a parade.’ I’m retiring New Year’s Day, and I can’t think of a better day for a parade.”

Ackerman and the Roseburg, Ore., newspaper swiftly disappeared from Swift’s corporate website.

But alas, Jeff didn’t retire. After a rest, this spring Jeff resurfaced at the “Wenatchee World.” That sounds like an oxymoron to me. For the unwashed masses, “Wenatchee”  is a small town in north central Washington; and the “World,” well that includes cities like Beijing, Rome and New Delhi. So it must be somewhere in between.

Jeff waxes eloquently in his opening column: “I’m from California, then Nevada, then California, then Oregon and now Washington. My grandfather said, ‘If they run you out of town, get in front of the line and make it look like a parade.’

He continues: “If you haven’t been run out of town at least once in your newspaper career, you are really missing all the fun.”

That sure sounds like a line I read before — in the News-Review and before that, The Union. Is that plagiarism? No, just poetic license. The rest of the column praises Jeff’s predecessor of the “WW” (“Wentchee World”), Mr. Rufus Woods and the family that owned the newspaper since 1907. “I’m fortunate and honored to follow in his footsteps.”

The paper (circ. 11K) is now owned by Wick Communications.

W.W. delivery truck

What is the newspaper’s political stand? “Rufus Woods (Sr.) and the Daily World became integrally involved in the 23-year battle for Grand Coulee Dam and the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project.”

But here’s another perspective on that dam: “The Grand Coulee: Savior for Whites, Disaster for Indians.” (An excerpt: “Martin Louie, Sr., 86, has watched the Colville Tribes fall apart after the Grand Coulee Dam destroyed 1,400 miles of salmon spawning grounds. He once speared Chinooks in the Columbia River. The salmon available to him now is canned and from a federal aid program.”)

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s wishing Jeff the best of luck in his 60-something “retirement”!

(Credit for all three photos goes to the Wenatchee World)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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