Hotline Profiles Dennison, Smith

From Hotline’s recent “Friday Features”…

Mike Dennison, a reporter at the Lee Newspapers State Bureau.

    Where’s your hometown? What was it like growing up there?

    Seattle. It was wonderful growing up in a city that, in the 1960s and 1970s, was still like a large town with scores of vibrant, middle-class neighborhoods just minutes from downtown. Housing was affordable and traffic was minimal — long before the Microsoft and coffee booms. Bill Gates grew up not far from my neighborhood in northeast Seattle, a couple of years ahead of me at a different school. Never met him, however.

    What’s your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you’d like to reveal?)

    While working for UPI in Helena, Mont., in 1983, I put out a bulletin broadcast story about 700 miners getting laid off in Butte, Mont., but I had dropped the word “off” in the original version of the story. We heard about it from radio announcers who had read it on-air.

    If you could interview any deceased person, who would it be and why?

    Jimi Hendrix. I’d ask whether he might do a few things (or stop doing a few things) that could extend his career past age 27.

David Smith, a general assignment reporter for the San Francisco Examiner:

    What’s your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you’d like to reveal?)

    I was first hired at the Daily News as a politics and elections reporter, but it didn’t work out because the paper organized the beats differently and I was meddling in everyone else’s coverage. So I was eventually switched to a G.A. reporter but not before I told a city official that I was the new politics and erections reporter.

    If you could interview any deceased person, who would it be and why?

    I’d like to talk with the guy who carved the Rosetta Stone to say thanks and find out what being an intern was like back then.

    It’s 2026 — where are you and what are you doing?

    According to my CBS Page Program interview, I’m playing basketball for the Boston Celtics. We, especially my agent, can all agree that’s not going to happen so in all likelihood I’ll have just wrecked my 2027 model Cutlass Sierra (having earned a fortune in the newspaper business) in a Vermont pond and will be begging for my job back as the 10,000th in line for Dave Barry’s throne.