The 150th anniversary of what we affectionately call the “Daily Paper” (IDAHO STATESMAN) prompted a former colleague to recall the day nearly 50 years ago when he came to work at the old 6th and Bannock office location. Ralph Nichols covered Canyon County news.
By Ralph Nichols
Sandor S. Klein Jr. – Sandy – was a newsman’s newsman, a legendary figure in the history of Idaho journalism. A five-foot seven-inch, cigar-chomping, violin-playing Hungarian Jew with a gravelly voice, whose crew cut was thinning by the time he became managing editor of The Idaho Statesman in Boise, he was a caricature from “The Front Page” come to life.
Sandy had covered boxing for a New York City newspaper, been a World War II correspondent aboard U.S. Navy ships, served as a United Press International bureau chief in Boise, and while covering the Idaho Legislature one session was granted unprecedented personal privilege to propose from the floor to Sen. Edith Miller, who said yes.
He expected his reporters to work hard and demanded initiative, accuracy and fairness. Boise still belonged to its only daily newspaper, and he reacted angrily on those few occasions when is reporters were scooped by the city’s growing television-news presence. Sandy also was a strong booster of Boise’s then-fledgling arts community.
But none of these things did I know about Sandy in the beginning, only that he published a personal take on local events in “Editor’s Notebook,” which appeared weekly on the Sunday editorial page – a feature I had read frequently since taking my first college journalism course for its vignettes that conveyed the image of reporters as the first to know the news.
Walking into the Idaho Statesman newsroom shortly before four o’clock that May 30, 47 years ago I would come to realize only a decade later, was my crossing of a great divide from which there would be no return. Although I had always been a news junkie, becoming a newspaper reporter was not part of the course charted for my future in the spring of 1967.