|Gene Foreman - 2008|
Interviewer: Are there any other characters who served as mentors to you in that way, making the tough decisions and setting an example of this is how it is done?
Foreman: Yes, the people I’ve worked for over my career, by and large, these people have been good mentors. Private conversations with them, one on one, I felt were the most effective. Early in my career, I became assistant city editor to Bill Shelton, who was the city editor at the Gazette in Little Rock. [Bill] directed the Central High coverage, and as a reporter I found him fairly aloof and hard to get to know. Working side by side with him, I found him to be a very good teacher. He would explain to me decisions that, if I were still out in the newsroom at my reporter’s desk, I would be baffled like a lot of my colleagues. So maybe he didn’t explain to the staff as well as he should, what he was doing, but he certainly had good reasoning. He took time to tell me what he was doing. So any time an issue came up, he would give me kind of a pointer here and there about why he was doing what he was doing. I don’t recall anything specific, but I was impressed by his day-to-day decision-making.
[Then there was] Gene Roberts, whom I worked for eighteen years at the Inquirer. I worked next door to him; he was the executive editor and I was the managing editor. Always, in the quiet moments, he would try to explain our goals: to be very honorable, do what is right, and always, of course, serve the readers.