Yesterday I called up Bill Lueders to see if he could come on "Forward," the radio show I produce on WTDY, to talk about Tommy Thompson. I remembered an account of Thompson I had read in his book, Watchdog, and thought he would offer a good perspective on the former guv's personality and politics. He agreed to be on the show.
And what do I discover this morning via text message from the show's host? Bill's leaving Isthmus! I had to scramble to come up with some new questions for the interview.
I will leave most of the commentary on Bill's departure to those who know him better or have worked more closely with him than I have. But here is my two cents on the dear editor.
There are only two regrets Bill should have about his tenure as news editor. First, there are still far too many people who pronounce his name "Looders" or "Loiters" instead of the correct "Leeders." Second, many, if not most of his readers, don't understand that he is the news editor of Isthmus, not The Isthmus.
Since I began writing and blogging for Isthmus, Bill, like many others at the paper, has been a great mentor. A lot of things that now seem obvious to me about news and feature writing weren't before Bill showed me them.
For instance: Starting an article out with a quote that captures the reader's attention. Or keeping the paragraphs short. Indeed, long paragraphs are a desert that many young writers need to be led out of before their content is suitable for public consumption.
Many, including Bill, would contend that Lueders is a tough editor. That's what I liked about him. It feels especially good when an editor who has told you that an article is "a million miles off" finally tells you that you nailed it.
I'm excited for his next gig at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Increasingly, newspapers simply don't have the print space for serious investigative stories, so it's good to see Bill's skills put to use at a place dedicated to raking muck.