Longtime Californian journalist Dave Nordstrand dies

Dave Nordstrand, who spent nearly three decades writing about the people and places of Monterey County in reports and a bi-weekly column in the Salinas Californian, died on September 19 of dementia-related illnesses.

He was 79 years old.

Nordstrand joined the Californian in 1987 from a newspaper in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While in the newsroom, Nordstrand described nearly every transplant recipient and ethnic group that found their way to the Salinas Valley, detailed how the AIDS pandemic affected Monterey County, and covered the Pope’s Mass. John Paul II in Laguna Seca.

“Thousands, many of them elderly, lined up in the freezing darkness at Salinas airport to wait for the bus transport to the venue. They were shaking with cold and there were too few portable jars.” , Nordstrand later observed of the Pontiff’s historic 1987. tour of Monterey County. “Eventually the multitudes, all praying for warmth, arrived at Laguna Seca. Soon after, the Pope appeared. At that very moment, the sun broke out, warming the soul of every true believer.”

Dave Nordstrand covering the invasion of Panama in late 1989 or early 1990.

In 1990, Nordstrand and photographer Richard Green were sent to Central America to cover the US invasion of Panama to overthrow General Manuel Noriega. The invading force included soldiers from Fort Ord in Monterey County.

“We touched the still warm ground of combat,” he later wrote, recalling the mission. “We have been drenched by tropical rains and dried up by a scorching white sun.”

The specialty of Nordstrand, however, was not traditionally the “big” story, but the discovery of moments in life that exemplified ordinary people in the Salinas Valley. He has written stories about the community rallying around a single mother battling homelessness, a day in the life of a garbage collector or the profile of a shoemaker clinging to his trade in a changing world.

“He had a knack for attracting people and getting them to tell him their stories,” former California editor-in-chief of Salinas, Pete Wevurski, said. “And he had an amazing ability to find unique angles or little twists on stories.”

Wevurski remembers Nordstrand writing a touching Mother’s Day story about a pediatric nurse – a mother herself – who has spent her long career caring for newborns and their mothers. The following year, he outdid himself by finding a Mother’s Day story about a 90-year-old woman caring for her 107-year-old mother who is still alive.

Katherine Ball, who worked at the office adjacent to Nordstrand in the newsroom for many years, admired the large number of people he knew who called him with tips big and small.

“He had a real relationship with his readers,” she said. “People always gave him ideas for stories that he would use or pass on to other reporters.”

In this file photo, California journalist / editor Roberto Robledo grills chicken in the California parking lot with fellow journalist Dave Nordstrand.

Tom Leyde, a former California editor, agreed, saying the key to his success was his liking and ability to connect with readers.

“People were waving to him at the market or if he was walking down the street as if they knew him,” Leiden said.

And while Nordstrand preferred to write stories, he could be counted on to cover breaking breaking news when needed.

“He had the journalistic skills to do whatever he was asked to do,” Ball said.

Press colleague Joe Truskot admired Nordstrand’s relaxed yet still thoughtful and insightful interview style.

“The best interviewers know how to shut up and listen,” Truskot said. “Dave was the master of this interviewing trade. He was the consummate professional.”

George Watkins, a longtime Californian sports journalist who worked for 27 years in an office next to the Nordstrand newsroom, remembers his calm and warm personality.

“Newsrooms can be a stressful and confrontational place at times,” Watkins said. “But whoever stopped by Dave’s office would walk away with a smile or a laugh.”

In Nordstrand’s retirement farewell column in 2015, he spoke of his 40-year career – including 27 for the Californian – in journalism and spoke directly to his readers and the sources of his story over the years. years.

“It has been an honor to meet you, to visit you – often at your house and over a cup of coffee – and to hear and write your stories,” he wrote. “I’m not a fan of farewells. So let’s just say ‘Goodbye’ for now. ‘”

Dave Nordstrand

David Nordstrand was born in San Francisco to Norman and Lillian Nordstrand on March 30, 1942

In his youth, he lived in Minnesota and then in Norway, where his father worked in the diplomatic service. He graduated from the American High School in Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany. He served in the Army, part of the 8th Infantry, and traveled to Alaska for specialist ski troop training.

He holds an MA in Photojournalism from the University of Missouri, BA in English and French from Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska for one year.

He was fluent in Norwegian, having studied the language for a year at the University of Oslo.

Prior to his 27-year stint at the Californian, he was a reporter, photojournalist, and feature film writer for 13 years at the Albuquerque Tribune in New Mexico. He also worked for Royal Viking Line aboard their ship, the RVL Star, editing the passenger log on cruises around the world.

Nordstrand is survived by his wife, Karen, and son, Erik. Memorial services are private.

James Ward is a writer and editor for USA TODAY Network-California.

Source link

Comments are closed.