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home : opinion : opinion May 24, 2016

1/29/2013 6:01:00 AM
Reporter Column: About your new reporter
Doug McMurdo

Hello, Kingman. I'm your new reporter. I suspect, if you care about such things, that you'd like to learn a bit about the new kid.

I will oblige. I'm not shy. Being an Army brat, I spent my youth being the new kid. Every two to four years, Uncle Sam would send my father to another post, another country. Another world.

All in all, I lived in four countries long enough to get a report card or two and a couple of others barely long enough to make unpacking worth the trouble.

I was born in Texas and it was in Texas where I spent most of my stateside time way back when.

After high school I left Texas and moved to Arizona, where I spent a single semester at Arizona State University.

My memories of ASU are a bit cloudy, but I think I majored in beer and girls.

Eventually, money became an issue - I didn't have any - and that put a real dent in pursuit of my twin majors.

At about the same time poverty threatened to turn me into a vagrant, my father retired from the Army and took a job at the Nevada Test Site.

And so I headed across the Hoover Dam and found myself in Las Vegas, where I thought I could support myself as a professional gambler while I continued my pursuit of beer and girls.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to be a professional gambler and I also discovered it would probably help if I understood how to gamble professionally.

Fortunately, my parents and I worked out a deal. I could live with them as long as I went back to college and worked enough hours to pay for the privilege.

Unfortunately, I would have to change my major from beer and girls to something more meaningful.

I was afraid to tell my father I wanted to become a newspaper reporter. A pragmatic man hardened to steel by two wars, "Mac" always figured journalists were liberal communists. He actually had more colorful words to describe my chosen profession, but none of them are suitable for a family newspaper.

In any event, I took a job roofing houses in Southern Nevada, a job I did well, while I went to school in the afternoon and evening

I have to say this about roofing houses in Las Vegas when it's 110 degrees outside: You are motivated to make it to class, every day, and you are motivated to do your homework and ace your tests.

Highly, relentlessly motivated.

Upon graduation I discovered some hard truths.

No. 1: Writing didn't pay as much as I thought it did.

No. 2: My UNLV guidance counselor was a world-class liar, because writing didn't pay as much as she said it did.

No. 3: The only way I was going to make a lot of money as a writer is if I wrote ransom notes.

OK, I stole that last one, but I can't remember where.

And so I continued to roof houses, because roofing paid better than writing, until one day I slipped off a rooftop.

While in mid-air, I experienced an adverse reaction to gravity and plummeted about 35 feet. I survived - duh - but my days of performing manual labor were over.

My father, a pragmatic man hardened to steel by two wars, suggested that fall actually knocked some sense into me.

He was right, because in rapid order I fell in love, got married and slowly but surely learned how to be a dependable journalist.

My wife, Sheila, and I are now grandparents and we've grown comfortable together.

I've worked in the big city and the small town. I've covered everything from school carnivals to presidential politics.

And now I'm here in Kingman, and I promise I will do my best.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle


"Liberals think answers are easy and one person has them. That is why you latch on to your “cool” celebrities and parrot whatever new bumper sticker logic is out there."

You mean, like Republicans who parrot the likes of chain e mails, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News?

Kind of funny how you sit and blame other Presidents for doing what Obama and Bush et tal have done, but it is wrong for Democrats to say Obama is doing nothing different from other Presidents.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

Frank in Kingman
There lies the problem. Liberals think answers are easy and one person has them. That is why you latch on to your “cool” celebrities and parrot whatever new bumper sticker logic is out there. Iraq was a bad idea. But that didn’t stop JOHN KERRY, ROCKEFELLER, CLINTON, SCHUMER, REID, BIDEN, DASCHLE, FEINSTEIN and many others from voting yes to war. Before Halliburton it was called Brown and Root or what we called “Brothers and Relatives.” There is always THAT entity and they pay off every President. Johnson used them in Vietnam and Clinton used them as a “no bid” contractors from Bosnia to El Centro, Ca. I don’t have all the answers but here are some tidbits. Electric cars use electricity made from dirty coal and nukes. Climate change is normal. We are only about 18 degrees over the Jurassic period average. Alaska had one of the coldest winters on record last year. They had to change the theory from global warming to climate change. Even the Eskimos were complaining. Gore’s manipulation and cornered market of buying, trading and selling carbon credits will not help the ozone. I’m Native American but you can call me an Indian. I don’t care. You are NOT a racist if you don’t agree with me or vote for me. America has only a fraction of the people and land mass of the world and less manufacturing than China but we have 100 percent of the burden, guilt and the whole onus of pollution and the fraudulent climate change laid on us by the liberal. I can do this all day but they rarely put even my short posts in here, so hopefully this one will slide by. It’s fewer than 300 words.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Welcome Newbie

Welcome to Kingman. With the many talents that the KDM already has, I hope you can live up to their expectations. I’m sure under the tutelage of those in your circle it won’t take long for you to get up to speed on the local lingo. It’s very important that you know the correct terms (Skeezix, Far Right Looney, Parasites, Takers and Givers, etc…) when referring to those who may not agree with your writings. It’s my hopes your hiring was a move to expand the knowledge base, or a need to grow a more diverse, unbiased opinion and not a move of desperation. Good Luck.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Frank in Kingman

@ Jimi Lightfoot
"Another far left journalist is as rare and needed as flu virus". Really? Is that what your life is about? I guess conservatives have all the answers to every thing.

Start an unwanted, unneeded war, no make that two that killed over five thousand of our young, rape the social security trust fund, give everybody a $500 check, then complain that social security is going broke.

Give no bid contracts for the wars to the company the vice president ran. As a matter of fact, Dick Cheney was getting paid by Halliburton while he was vice president, but he said it was fine because the money was going into a trust fund. Boy, that sure isn't a conflict of interest there.

So Jimi, give us some of your right wing, conservative ideas, because you people are always right and everybody else is wrong, no matter what.

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Gisela Potokar

Thank you, Doug, for a most delightful introduction of yourself.

We look forward to your future stories in the paper.
Welcome to Kingman! Not really a bad place to live.

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: NAU Alum

Are we going to get Vin and Sherm from the RJ too? Never ending stories and commentaries that obsess about liberals and teacher unions and rotten local governments and Harry Reid can be expected. We are also there, Rich. Too bad Dick Carver is not here any more.

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Illegal Alien

Just to fill ya in on liberal journalism in this area, it's all about illegal aliens, so I suggest you do some history on this subject. It all started north of Kingman in the 50s when a very observant officer noted a suspicious vehicle.
He hit the lights and siren and the vehicle slowed to a stop above a large boulder. The officer told everyone to exit the vehicle. He promptly placed them all in tentacle restraints. The largest of those being arrested asked what the charge was? The officer looked up at the saucer hovering over the boulder, and told the Alien "You are charged with Vagrancy", when the alien's eyes started spinning, the officer pointed up at the saucer and added "No visible means of support".

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Schmo

@ New Guy, Frank and Much Luck:

Thanks for the laughs. Funniest comments I have read here in a long, long time.

Welcome and good luck to our new reporter. A good sense humor is required in order to make it around these here parts.

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

Welcome aboard.

Never worry about not being liberal enough in your writings. Another far left journalist is as rare and needed as flu virus.

As you can see in another post, a poster has you pegged as a righty.

Maybe the fact that your father was a Patriot, you’ve moved out of your parents’ house, you’ve had real life experiences, a real job, “God bless the roofers,” and you realized that your college professor was wrong and you publically admitted it gave that impression.

In this day and age a journalist is screamed at by the very angry and vocal minority if he doesn’t lean hard left.

Some people will never understand that not agreeing with them doesn’t make you wrong or evil, so placating them is impossible until you are a frothing Bush hater wearing a tie dyed Che or Mao t-shirt. Dreadlocks optional.

So again, Welcome. Speak your mind but don’t mind if someone speaks theirs.

Hmmm…I guess that alone would qualify you as right-wing.

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Me Myself and I Mr. C,

Doug, Good luck to ya, that part about your days of manual labor days being over. Explained the reason you may have had, for becoming a reporter.

As for me your, party affiliation shouldn't interfere with your writing, as long as it's the truth. Something, some forget from time to time. Pay is important these days with grand kids and all, so good luck buddy.

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

All writing styles are a reaction to what came before, and your nano-witticisms seem to presume prior in-depth reading by exhausted folks here. All I can say quickly is that those hollow eyes seen around this place are not indicative of serious intellectual pursuit (an interesting study would delve into language development, as well. For example, have you considered that the French language - think about this carefully - might have come about as drunken Gauls sought to imitate Latin?). As for your arrival ij Kingman as committed journalist, I'm reminded of a TV special years ago, filmed at Rahway prison in New Jersey. A group of young people were escorted through the place as a warning, and one of them made it in as a prisoner a couple years later. He strode up to some of the guys he'd seen earlier, all smiles, and said something like "I made it! " Welcome to Kingman, Doug - you've made it.

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Doug, I think I remember you from the Pahrump Valley Gazette. Were you a reporter for them back in 1996-97?

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: dv s

Quite a story...funny...

and so many of us have similiar stories....

Welcome,,,Good luck..!

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Much Luck

Welcome. Only one question - before taking the job did you happen to read the many comments posted on every article from presidential politics to school carnivals on the Miner. And if so, were you that desperate?

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Frank in Kingman

Since you were hired by KDM, your interview must have gone like this:

Rich: Do you hate Democrats, liberals, lefties and that thar funny looking President?

Doug: Sure.

Rich: Your hired!

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: AP Style On Steroids

Wow, a new reporter on the local beat that has polished the cherished paper-saving AP style of writing down to a blinding set of three-word sentences like I've never witnessed before.

The Miner should be morphing into a six-page tabloid with more digestible short phrases of current events than the current 12-page broadsheet can hold.

I see huge profits in my crystal balls.

I also see a boosted recycling rebate when you add your keyboards with the broken period key to Thurlow's with the busted delete key -- e-waste revenues will absolutely soar.

But, welcome aboard. Short is sweet. Life is good. Post more soon. Good luck new-guy. Bye for now.

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: To The New Guy

After a few months in Kingman you may want to write your own ransom note. All of us that are here have now written our own notes but we keep getting the reply "Return to Sender".

Good Luck your gonna need it.

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: JERRY BURCH

Welcome Aboard Doug,

We also Promise you a chance seeing you have "big Shoes to fill" with Erin Taylor leaving.
Hopefully you are a Big Animal Lover because a few of us are and make the newspaper a place to "help Animals get a Better Shake in life here in Kingman."
Jerry Burch
Kristin M Freiert "The Cat Lady"

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Local Yokel

Welcome to Big K Town!

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Glenda Erwin

Welcome to Kingman, Doug.
I enjoyed your introductory offering and look forward to reading more of your experiences here in Kingman.
Your easy going and humorous style of writing makes me think that I'll enjoy your future contributions to the the Daily Minor.

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