RIP: Nevada Newspaper Columnist ‘Grandma With Attitude’

Anne Pershing was 71.

RenoGazetteJournalLogoIn the Mother’s Day edition of her Reno Gazette-Journal column “Grandma With Attitude,” Anne Pershing wrote that she hoped to see readers at a May 12 meet-and-greet. Sadly, that can no longer be the case.

Pershing, a journalist since 1983, passed away last Thursday from heart disease, after filing the column. She was 71. From the Reno Gazette-Journal obituary:

Brett McGinness worked with Pershing as her editor for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

“Anne Pershing was the model for what a great newspaper columnist should be,” McGinness said Saturday. “She was an engaging and entertaining writer, and more importantly, she treated her column like a two-way conversation with her readers. And no one cared more deeply about Northern Nevada seniors than Anne.”

During the course of her career, Pershing founded the Fallon Star Press in 2004 and worked as a reporter-editor for the Lahontan Valley News. In the Nevada Appeal, editor Steve Ranson, who was hired away from the teacher ranks in 1987 by Pershing to cover sports, recalls a high point:

During the late 1990s and heading into the first three years of the new millennium, the Lahontan Valley News staff guided by Pershing covered a child leukemia cluster with the gusto of a metropolitan daily news team, thus causing then U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York to visit Fallon in 2001 for a hearing to discuss possible causes for the cluster.

For the newspaper’s unrelenting resolve in reporting on the leukemia cluster, Pershing and the LVN were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service and honored in 2002 with an Associated Press Public Service Award. AP President Lou Boccardi said during the presentation the LVN was the newspaper of record for reporting on the leukemia and also made others aware in the newspaper business how a very small daily newspaper could cover such an important issue.