The Las Vegas newspaper has a story on the death of its long-time features editor, Frank Fertado, 65.
The Review-Journal story recounts his three decades with the paper as an innovator and dedicated manager, pointing out the improvements he heralded. He launched the Friday Neon entertainment section. He brought on board movie, food, music and television reviewers. He created the annual Best of Las Vegas.
It quoted friends and co-workers about his genial nature, passion and dedication.
But the newspaper account falsely says he “retired in September 2012 after newsroom reorganization consolidated the positions of features and sports editor.” He did not retire. He was retired.
The paper’s story neglected to point out that Frank was one of the editors who were crumpled up like yesterday’s newspaper and summarily tossed out two years ago — without explanation, without rationale, without any recognition of his decades of service, devotion and long hours, without any compassion whatsoever. He was devastated. Where else at his age was there to go?
The story quotes two of the people who were kicked to the curb along with Fertado, without bothering to mention their ousters either.
Nor does it mention that Frank grew to abhor the Best of Las Vegas feature, which had morphed from a tip of the hat to Las Vegas achievers into an annual excuse to extort advertisers, turning the editorial content from whimsical and amusing into rote spewing of ink to wrap around the ads.
“It’s a great loss. Frank was a real pro. … His influence continues to be reflected in the R-J today and will be well into the future,” the story quoted the newspaper’s editor, Mike Hengel, as saying.
Two years ago this was the excuse for the management blood bath:
“I am sorry to have to take these painful steps,” Hengel said. “All of these individuals have helped to make the Review-Journal the dominant source of news and information in Southern Nevada. I believe, however, that a structure which removes a layer of management will best serve our readers going forward.”
What he said then was a crock. What he said now is true — but disingenuous, misleading, deceptive, callous and without candor or frankness, as well as being mendacious, heartless, remorseless, shameless and soulless on his part. (As editor Walter Matthau said to reporter Jack Lemmon in “The Front Page” as he was typing a string of pejoratives: “Yes, and in that order.”)
Sorry to have to say what no one else has been willing to, but Frank never shirked from the truth.
He was one of the most guileless and caring people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing for more than 20 years. He did not deserve the raw deal the paper dealt him.
Rest in peace, Frank, we who knew you all those years will cherish the memories of your laughter and your dedication to the profession and your fellow professionals.