Sunday, March 06, 2016

Mike Clary just can’t kick the habit

50 years, still a reporter

Former BJ reporter Mike Clary still is working for the South Florida Sun Sentinel because “I don’t know when to quit.”

Mike Clary is a general assignment reporter at the Sun Sentinel, which is in Fort Lauderdale, land of $50 million yachts. He is a graduate of Beloit College.  

Mike Clary
As the age of 22, as a BJ police reporter, Clary got a letter of thanks from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Clary wrote a first person story which ran on page 1 with a one-column photo of Clary and photos of the suspect and a police traffic officer. The story ran on Sunday, October 10, 1965. The newspaper got a letter of thanks few days later from J. Edgar Hoover which Clary still has.

That was 50 years ago.

Clary’s piece was handled under city editor Bruce McIntyre. Dan Warner, assistant city editor then, may have had a hand in tuning up that story,” Mike writes.

Dan was managing editor by the time publisher Ben Maidenburg told Dan to hire me and work out the money details. I balked at taking only the top Guild minimum so Dan, looking apprehensively in Ben’s office’s direction, bumped the offer up to $25 above the Guild pay scale. Later, after Ben called Dan and Dan called Pat Englehart in, I was made assistant State Desk editor for another, 10% pay hike.

By late brother-in-law, Larry Turkette, finding out about it, said: “You’re the only person I know who is unemployed for five weeks who would demand a pay raise before starting his new job.”

I had been fired by the Dayton Daily News for union activities (Cox hated unions for reporters and editors) and then blacklisted by Editor Jim Fain (a friend at United Press showed me Fain’s letter). I was out of work, with a family of five to feed, for five weeks.

But unionism runs deep in my family. I was on the United Mine Workers picket line inside my mother, who was 8 months pregnant, with company goons on horseback threatening miners who dared to want a union.

Fortunately, the horse didn’t kick me in the head in my fetal position, although there are those who would say that they suspected I’ve been banged on the head somewhere along the way.

Anyway, if you want to contact Mike, you know where to reach him.

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