End of an era at the Argus Leader
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - If you had a Mount Rushmore of Argus Leader writers, Stu Whitney would be on it. Wednesday was the last day at the Argus for the news columnist and content coach.
Stu Whitney started as a sportswriter at the Argus Leader thirty years ago. A Detroit area native, just out of Michigan State.
“I came to Sioux Falls not knowing a soul. Met my wife here, raised a family.”
Over those years, Stu had a front-row seat in an ever-changing era of South Dakota sports.
“I remember journalism professors telling me early on to write with a voice. And good writers write with a voice and I’ve tried to do that here. I don’t know if everyone always appreciated that voice, but I’ve always had something to say.”
Stu’s writing could ruffle feathers and he was never afraid to give you his point of view. But that’s what made his work, whether it was in sports, or later as a news columnist memorable to a generation of readers.
“I’ve always had the attitude that there are going to be slings and arrows. And if you saw my e-mail inbox you would blush sometimes. But I’m convinced that’s the right approach and that’s the take that I want to put forth. You have the confidence in yourself to go with it.”
“I don’t think most of his colleagues would look at it like that. That he was this controversial guy that was always poking the bear. I think they would look at it like he was this gifted writer and very capable of telling a story of some level of depth that a lot of people in our business wouldn’t be capable of telling,” said former Argus sportswriter Mick Garry.
“It’s going to be obvious when he’s gone that there’s something missing from the Argus Leader and the local media. He’s the guy who kind of is willing to go after the mayor or the governor or the athletic director or the school whatever it is. I don’t know who’s going to fill that role. There are certain people that aren’t going to miss it. There are people that don’t like that. But I think everyone knows deep down that there’s a place for that. There’s a need for that whether you like it or not,” said Argus sportswriter Matt Zimmer.
“You learn to listen. You take some bumps and bruises along the way. You’re not always right. I’m certainly not always right,” Stu said.
But the positive impact, his words had on others, is what this veteran journalist appreciates the most.
“A lot of people were saying whenever I saw your byline, whenever I saw your picture I knew it was something I need to read. It may not be a subject I was interested in. But I knew if it had your name on it, I needed to read it. That to me was the ultimate compliment.”
Stu says the next chapter in his life will involve more writing which could include writing a book and spending a lot of time with his wife Lisa and two kids.
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