A new game unfolds for storyteller

Executive editorAugust 5, 2012 

The News Tribune is made up of more than just ink and paper; it’s made up of people.

On Saturday, one of the newsroom’s most beloved personalities – Kathleen Merryman – announced in her column that she’s retiring.

We have another couple of weeks to bid farewell to Kits, as we know her, but be assured that we intend to carry on the kind of journalism she provided readers in Tacoma and Pierce County for the past 29 years.

There will be no replacing Kathleen. She’s one of a kind.

But at the heart of her column is an approach to covering a community that we want to continue.

Kathleen writes about interesting local characters, introduces us to people behind the news of the day, inspires us, and shines a light on issues and neighborhoods that don’t otherwise get covered.

We’ve asked another beloved TNT personality – Larry LaRue – to begin finding and telling those stories for us. We trust he will find his own approach to a beat like that.

Since 1988, Larry has been the Seattle Mariners beat writer for the TNT. He came to us from the Long Beach (Calif.) Press Telegraph, where he covered the Angels and before that was a news reporter. Larry covered local news, police and schooling (also known as education) at the Orange County (Calif.) Register and Omaha (Neb.) World Herald. Even earlier, he was a reporter and then sports editor at the twice-weekly Antelope Valley Press in California.

In addition to his newspaper work, Larry has been both a private detective and a bouncer, jobs he said taught him how to dig for information and interact with people.

Some may think it unusual that we’ve chosen a sports reporter to take over a news beat like Merryman’s, but to read Larry’s stories is to understand why we think he’s well-suited.

TNT Managing Editor Dale Phelps put it this way:

“Larry has won numerous national awards for his game-story writing on the Mariners beat. One of the reasons is the approach he takes. He once told me he doesn’t think about writing 162 game stories but rather he thinks about writing 162 chapters about the story of a season. He tries to capture the master narrative in each story, giving readers a look at the big picture while detailing the thousands of individual moments that occur in the course of a season.

“Ballclubs are assemblages of people, and each of them has a story. Larry enjoys telling the story of the career minor-leaguer getting his one and only shot at the majors just as much as he enjoys telling the story of the superstar player. Sportswriters are often asked “What is (fill in the name of a player) really like?” Larry has tried to answer that in his career by giving readers a glimpse of the human beings we only see as lines in a box score or as images on TV.

“I think Larry’s approach transfers well to this new assignment. There are people out there with stories to tell. And Larry is one of the best storytellers around.”

Larry will cover the Mariners through the end of their season. That will give us a couple of months to reorganize beats to fill in behind him.


If you haven’t done so already, be sure to mail in or drop off your ballot by Tuesday.

The TNT online voter guide is a place to learn more about the candidates before you vote. It allows you to compare candidates in your districts side by side.

The election page at thenewstribune.com/election also includes our endorsements for races decided in the primary. We’ll endorse in the rest of the races before the fall general election.

Members of the TNT editorial board met with most of the candidates on your ballot. While I haven’t sat in on all of those interviews, I am continually impressed with the candidates I meet – people from all walks of life willing to give their time to represent us at the local, state and federal level.

Now it’s time for you to do your part. Vote.


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