In this 1974 photo, AP reporter Doug Willis, left, talks with then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. (AP Photo)
Doug Willis, who for decades covered California politics for the Associated Press from his perch in Sacramento, was an amazing man – funny, balanced, sane, profoundly accurate, detail savvy and unflappable. He died Dec. 15 at the age of 77. He was my political mentor, friend and boss, hiring me in 1980 to come to Sacramento as news editor. I saw the move as a chance to report on state politics and learn from a master. I did both for 21 years.
Gary Webb. (Photo: Fairness and Accuracy in Media)
I rarely dwell on the past – a good thing, too – but I can’t help thinking now about Gary Webb, the journalist who killed himself in Sacramento 10 years ago in the aftermath of a story on the CIA and crack cocaine trafficking that brought him fame, and then humiliation, on a national scale. But surely my memories of Gary are as valid as anything contained in “Kill The Messenger,” Hollywood’s version of his life and work.