Guest column: Remembering Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan. (Submitted photo)

Bill Donovan. (Submitted photo)

When a colleague passes away, it is unquestionably a time of reflection. And the case of former Gallup Independent journalist Bill Donovan, who died of pneumonia two weeks ago in California, is no different.

Bill was one of the most altruistic people I’ve had the privilege to know. And that quality was genuinely Bill. I remember a few years ago when we gathered in Bernalillo at the annual awards banquet of the New Mexico Press Association and Arlyssa Becenti, a new Independent reporter at the time, told Bill and I she’d never won an award in the profession. The three of us were sitting at the same table and the award was a group honor in which about six Independent reporters were recognized. Bill looked at me, then looked at Arlyssa, and exclaimed, “…You’re kidding. Well, you take it since this is your first one.”

Bill often thought of others first. He didn’t hesitate to help people to matter their station in life. It was first nature to him.

Bill and I were the political reporters at the Independent, often assigned front page stories. We were both members of the paper’s editorial board and were the true “political watchdogs.”

Nothing got past us and we emphasized the public’s fundamental right to know and it was our quest to cover all governments — city, county, state and tribal.

Bill’s passion was with reporting the news and he did so with a lot of confidence, waiting, when necessary, to get the story right. These are the character sets that I’ll miss as I pray for the safety and longevity of his family.

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