Hed Lines: Fielding calls from other reporters comes with the territory

I occasionally get calls from reporters all over the country because I work on a story of statewide or national interest or because it is of specific interest of readers back home.

Reporters inquire about suspects who were arrested locally, people from their hometowns who died in the Kingman area or other items that made the news in the Miner, or at other newspapers where I have worked.

Often the calls are intended for my colleagues, and I pass on the messages.

Out of professional courtesy, I cooperate, unless the other reporter happens to be a competitor.

I extend the courtesy because I may need similar services from other reporters on occasion.

Reporters from two competitive newspapers on the Gulf Coast of Florida bombarded me with phone calls a year ago after they found out that former Mohave County Manager Paul McIntosh was a finalist for a similar job in Hernando County, Fla.

They broke the news to me - and my competitors - about McIntosh's intentions, and requested assistance on their stories.

Last week, I received a call from a business reporter from Pennsylvania.

He was working on a package of stories for Sunday on PPL, one of two companies that will operate the Griffith Energy Project once it is completed this summer.

(The other partner in the Griffith project is Duke Energy North America.)

The reporter asked whether the Griffith power plant encountered opposition.

Faithful readers, guess what my answer was.

I gave him the names and phone numbers of some opponents, and faxed some of my stories to him.

He quoted former County Supervisor Carol Anderson and project supporter Bill Goodale, executive director of the Mohave County Economic Development Authority.

His newspaper account also referred to opposition to power plants proposed for Montgomery County, Pa., and in Long Island, N.Y.

Meanwhile, a member of an opposition group in Long Island sent me an e-mail to request more information about Griffith.

She wrote that she had been reading my stories.

Like the reporter from Pennsylvania, I have called newspaper reporters elsewhere for assistance with stories.

And, in most cases, they are every bit as cooperative as I have been.

However, exceptions occur.

A few months ago, I called an internationally known entertainment daily for insight into a story about a production company that selected Oatman to film a science fiction series for viewing on cyberspace.

The reporter curtly referred me to a public relations spokeswoman for the publication, and I left a message for her on her voicemail.

I occasionally see reporters for the publication interviewed by CNN and an other news broadcasts devoted to entertainment.

I would have quoted the spokeswoman as well, instead of merely using her information as background.

However, the spokeswoman never called back, apparently because I was not important enough.

Rudeness comes with the territory as well as being cooperative.

*****

Tom Sockwell, the freshman county supervisor representing District 2, squelched a potential political embarrassment during his first official meeting as a supervisor Monday by pulling an item from the agenda.

The item called for paying an administrative assistant/personal secretary $40,000 a year for his office in Bullhead City.

Many county employees were upset.

The former office clerk who worked for Sockwell's predecessor, Jim Zaborsky, wrote a memo attacking the proposal.

Heidi Koehly said she worked for Zaborsky for 2 1/2 years, and was paid a whopping $8.30 per hour.

"The moral (sic) for employees is bad if enough if this is approved, and I can image (sic) how the employees will feel then," Koehly wrote.

Sockwell said he decided not to retain Koehly and former administrative assistant Karon Sondgeroth, and opted instead to hire campaign supporter Linda Cotter.

Cotter apparently would not work for under $40,000 a year, and quit on Monday, according to Sockwell.

When I contacted him Monday afternoon, Sockwell answered his own calls because no one else was working in his office.

He has decided to hire two employees for around the same amount that he budgeted for the administrative assistant.

"I didn't think it was good PR," Sockwell said.

"I'm extremely sorry about this.

I have to take full responsibility for it."