#MediaMonday – Sherman Frederick
Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Sherman Frederick. Sherm and I first met when he was publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and we were both serving on an advisory board for the Northern Arizona University School of Communications some 20-plus years ago.
Sherm, time to share:
You grew up in Glendale?
Hell yes, and damn proud of it. Our home in the ‘50s and ‘60s was at 59th Avenue and Belmont. Farmland as far as you could see to the north and the east. Now it is strip malls and housing. Alas.
Is your family from Arizona?
My mother’s side – the Lewis’ – were pioneers. My great-grandfather and grandfather lived in Tombstone during the silver boom. My grandfather as a young boy was recruited to fill out the chorus line at the Birdcage. It was the practice then, or at least that’s what the Arizona Highways story on my grandfather says.
Were you interested in the news businesses?
I threw the paper for the Arizona Republic for a bit, but other than that, I had no particular passion for the business. Didn’t even work for the school newspaper at Glendale High School.
After two years at ASU, I lost my 2S status with the draft and drew a low number. So, I figured I’d rather pick my branch of service, instead of leaving it up to the draft. I enlisted in the Navy and after bootcamp spent my entire enlistment at the Naval Air Station in Guam. All in all, it was a good enlistment for the day.
It was during this time that I realized that with two years as an English major/History minor at ASU under my belt, if I stayed on that path I’d end up teaching. I knew one thing: I didn’t want to teach. So, I switched to journalism and applied at Northern Arizona University.
In my last semester at NAU, I was offered an internship at the Arizona Republic, but at the last minute it was pulled away because of objections by the in-house union. Or, at least that is what was told to me. So, I took my No. 2 offer, which was at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
It turned out to be the best decision I had made for me. I started there as a student intern and left the company in 2010 as the president and CEO of the company. I grew to love newspapers at that time … and, heaven help me, I love them still.
I am currently chair of the Nevada Newspaper Foundation and am in the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. (That and $2.50 will get you a nice medium cup of coffee at Starbucks.)
I started my own company called Battle Born Media. I wanted to preserve community journalism in an age that dispatched fine newspapers left and right on the whim of the balance sheet and stock prices. Today Battle Born consists of five weekly newspapers in Nevada and six weekly newspapers north of San Francisco in Marin County.
How’s The Biz?
Well, the COVID lockdown didn’t help. But, I remain convinced that a community newspaper done well establishes an important bond with a community. Content remains the key in good times and bad. That’s my bias and I’m sticking to it.
Where do you live now?
I have primarily hunkered down in Scottsdale during the COVID age.
I am on Facebook and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve written a general interest column for decades and continue to do so. I post them on my Facebook page. You are welcome to take a peek. (It’s also available for free to any newspaper that thinks it might help.)