Any time there are cuts at the Los Angeles Times it makes me sad because I have the deepest respect for the brilliant journalists who work there. But this is devastating to me. Not only is Henry Fuhrmann a perennial finalist in the Nicest Guy in the World competition, but he’s a fantastic and patient teacher. There were a few people whose offices I would regularly camp out in to learn about journalism, our paper, and how to be an effective editor. Henry was one of the best teachers to learn that from. Because Henry is such a mild mannered and gentle man, I was often embarrassed by the topics that I had to consult him about: “Mr. Fuhrman, it appears Congressman Weiner sexted his, um package, to a young lady. I feel like I need to show that image, which is PG, but I’m not sure.” “Henry, what’s your stance on a band called Pussy Riot?” “Henry, Rihanna got beat up yesterday, TMZ is running the photo, is there something that says we can’t run the photo?”
What I loved about him is first he would research LA Times precedents. If the topic was “can we use this word?” he would find out all the times we ran the word and if it appeared in print, in a headline and/or online. Each instance held a slightly different weight in his judgement. He’d explain that to me in a very calm way. He knew I wasn’t trying to be some crazy person breaking down all the walls and traditions, but I was often pleasantly surprised when we he gave us the green light because it meant it wasn’t a rash decision and I would be supported later if someone cried foul.
Henry had great stories about baseball, but even better stories about the writers I grew up reading who I never had the chance to work with. Even though I’m very sad that he won’t be at the paper, I really really hope some smart college is sharp enough to have him spread his knowledge and experience with the kids. In a building of very sharp and well-read gentleman, Henry is one of the very best.
Enjoy your retirement!