By Robert Mann
It was one of my luckiest days, but I didn’t know it yet. That was the morning in early 1983 when I stepped into the newsroom of The Shreveport Journal and entered the world of its dynamic editor, Stan Tiner.
I was the Journal’s new political writer. I still have no idea why Stan entrusted his paper’s political coverage to a kid who thought he knew more about politics than he really did. My confidence clearly exceeded my qualifications.
Nonetheless, Stan let me dive into the deep end of the state’s political pool before I had learned to swim. I was soon covering the epic 1983 governor’s race between then-incumbent Dave Treen and former Gov. Edwin Edwards.
I thought this new job would change my life and career. It did, but not exactly how I had imagined. My work at the Journal made me a better writer and journalist and taught me volumes about Louisiana politics. It wasn’t until years later, however, that I realized the true gift of the job was working for and learning from Stan.
I’m reflecting on Stan this week because, at the age of 73, he is retiring. At the end of August, he will step down as executive editor and vice president of the Biloxi Sun Herald, the paper he has led since 2000.
Stan is a bear of a man, a tall, solid ex-Marine who served in Vietnam as a combat correspondent. At first, I found him quite intimidating. He was “Mr. Tiner” for months. Finally, I screwed up the courage to call him “Stan,” but he was still my editor and sometimes-forbidding boss. Now, 30 years later, he’s a mentor and father figure.
To Louisiana political veterans, Stan is a legend. A native of Springhill in Webster Parish, he graduated with his journalism degree from Louisiana Tech in 1969 (his college career delayed by his stint in the Marines). By 1970, Stan was the political writer for The Shreveport Times. A gifted writer with a keen eye and an uncanny ability to converse with anyone, Stan quickly emerged as one of Louisiana’s preeminent political journalists.
In 1974, the publisher of The Shreveport Journal (then the city’s afternoon paper) hired him as editor. Stan was only 32. Although he was great reporter, Stan was born to run a newsroom. Under his aggressive, exacting leadership, the small afternoon newspaper became a powerful force in Louisiana journalism.
Now, more than 40 years later – having also led The Daily Oklahoman and the Mobile Press-Register – Stan retires knowing that his place in the history of American journalism is secure. In 2006, his paper, along with The Times-Picayune, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for “its valorous and comprehensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina.” Stan and two Sun Herald colleagues were also finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing “for their passionate editorials . . . that empathized with victims while pleading for relief from the outside world.”
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