Posts Tagged ‘Steve Hartgen’

Shoneshone Falls, as painted by Thomas Moran. One of the nicest things about Twin Falls, Idaho was its scenic location near the Snake River Gorge and this waterfall, which was located just six miles away from my home in town. The original of this painting was found in the local library during my two-year stay in the small Southern Idaho town. I remember those days, and my former boss, Steve Hartgen fondly.

Men do, Too Many Women Don’t

I recently received news that Steve Hartgen, the former managing editor of the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, where I worked as regional editor for two years in the mid-1980s, had died.

I had accepted the job at the small local newspaper during a transitional time in my life.  It was the first time that I was entirely on my own. Divorced and with all my children on their own in the world, I was kind of full of myself.

Steve was a hard-nosed newsman who didn’t go easy on his reporters when he didn’t think they were doing their best. I respected him, and we got along well, mostly I think because he allowed me to stand up to him when I thought he was wrong. I never thought of him as sexist, but several of the female reporters did. They complained to me — because I was a woman like them and would understand — that our managing editor was harder on women than he was on the male reporters.

I didn’t see it that way. There was no question in my mind about Steve being hard on the female reporters, because he was. But as I saw it. Steve treated both the men and the women exactly the same harsh way. So, what was the difference? I asked myself this question, and then began to look for answers. It didn’t take long for me to come to a conclusion.

 When the men received a lecture from the managing editor, they listened, nodded, then afterwards shrugged it off, not convinced they had done anything wrong, certainly not something they should worry about. The women, meanwhile, took every word of the boss’ admonitions to heart, some even crying about it. They feared being fired, and always promised to do better.

The difference was clearly the amount of self-confidence the men had, and the lack of self-confidence the women suffered from. It was something I had seen before but not understood, and something I would see again many times during the remainder of my journalism career.

I learned a lot from working with Steve Hartgen those two years, especially the need to stand up for myself because no one else probably would. As to Steve, he will be missed. The news media needs more of his kind today: Hardnosed newswomen and newsmen who believe facts and truth are important for readers to know, but especially those whose only agendas are truth and facts and not their personal agendas.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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