Wednesday, July 16, 2008
RIP Matt McHale
I wish there were a lot more people like Matt McHale. For the year I freelanced for the Daily News, and the summer before when I was an intern, he was my mentor.
He was that old-school newspaper man I had always envisioned. That guy in the movies with the cigar and the notepad, minus the cigar since you can't really do that anymore in the newsroom.
And now, Matt McHale, the former deputy sports editor is dead at 50.
He was a straight shooter. When one of my articles sucked, he told me. When it was good, he heaped praise. Through every conversation I had with him in his office, I knew that he truly wanted to see me get better. He cared.
"He really liked you," another Daily News reporter told me when he called to tell me the bad news.
Steve Dilbeck wrote a great column about Matt that really gave justice to this man who passed too soon.
And I'm sad that I never got to say goodbye and thank him for his help. I sent him an E-mail after he was laid off and given disability leave but all I had was his Daily News E-mail and I'm not sure he ever got it.
I can still hear Matt's voice. "Tell the story through other people. Get rid of the cliches. Don't use the phone, this a face to face business."
It's the same stuff I hear myself saying to my co-workers at The Signal.
My E-mail was simple and short. I think it would have given him a little satisfaction. .
I heard about what happened last week and I don't really know what to
say. Both of us know I don't know shit compared to you, but I just
wanted to say thank you for all your help. I really learned a lot in
the short time we got to work together. Good luck with everything.