Monday, December 20, 2010

A fiesty newspaperman leaves us

Sad news today that Mike Tetreault, a former colleague at the LA Daily News, passed away Sunday night from a battle with cancer.

He was, simply, a great editor. He loved newspaper work.

I had the privilege of working for Mike and alongside him for a brief time. As an editor, he was among the tough ones. He questioned everything in your story, which was his job. His editing advanced your story. It wasn't a wordsmithing effort just to please his own sense of style. He treated every story on its own unique merits. He simply wanted to make sure the story was, first, factual, then read well.

He was, as others have said, "wickedly funny." I was the victim of a few of his jokes and pranks. Such as the time when I left the office for an assignment and also remained logged into my computer. We had clear instructions to log off if we were leaving our computers. I'm sure, back then, there were good reasons for this. Seizing the opportunity and, perhaps, wanting to make a point the hard way, Mike began sending Daily News staff some very peculiar messages under my name. I got the point.

As an editor, Mike rarely had a byline. He was behind the scenes, but his role was critical to the Daily News publishing credible stories and sending reporters off to cover events that he knew mattered to the public. For this, I had much respect for Mike.

Tetreault (pronounced without the "ult" at the end) will be missed.

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