I’m at that age where I’m starting to read the obituaries. Today, I was deeply saddened to read the obituary for Bill Wasson, who reported for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for nearly 40 years. He died this week after a lengthy illness.
Bill was one of the stereotypical reporters — always a cigarette in his hand, always a curmudgeonly attitude, always lurking.
I came to know Bill when I served as spokesperson for the Richmond Police Department. He could drive me crazy with his questions and his need to know right now “because I’ve got a deadline.” Some of those who worked with him would go out of their way to avoid him knowing that there would be no end in sight until Bill nailed his story.
And that’s why he’ll be missed. He was thorough. He wanted the facts. He wanted accuracy. He was going to meet his deadline, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
I learned quickly to anticipate his questions and find out the answers before he even showed up at a crime scene. He learned that if I didn’t come over to him right away I was still collecting my facts.
When you spend hours at a scene waiting for information, you fill the time with conversation. Bill and I chatted about a variety of subjects. It’s hard to be friends with a reporter when you’re a spokesperson and a constant source of information, but Bill and I came as close as you could to that line.
Bill made a difference in the lives of many with his reporting so thank you Bill for living up to journalism’s ideals.