Russell and I covered the L.A. riots following the Rodney King verdict. I vividly remember the man with a large pipe threatening a SWAT officer and Russell, the only photographer there, caught the moment in an award-winning photo. As we sat in Russell's pickup truck, we were surrounded by angry protestors armed with baseball bats. When they started rocking the truck, Russell hit the gas to escape. On another assignment, we went to the makeshift migrants camps in the back country of San Diego's North County to interview workers in our broken Spanish and their broken English.
We cut our journalism teeth at that paper, and photographers, editors and fellow reporters mostly moved on to bigger and better journalism jobs: Klika became a combat photographer, with two tours of duty in Iraq. He's now a civilian combat photo instructor for the National Guard. Leslie moved on to the Tulsa World; Deniene Husted to the Riverside-Press Enterprise and Los Angeles Time. I moved on to the Las Vegas Sun, followed by a lengthy stint as a correspondent for the Reuters wire service and the New York Times.
Charlene? Well, she went to work at the Texas governor's mansion and then to the White House as Laura Bush's personal speechwriter. Many others who came before us have moved onward and upward too.
North San Diego County was a fertile training ground for us. We worked our tails off, learned to crunch on deadline, and savored each occasional scoop over our seemingly giant neighbor, the San Diego Union. It was David and Goliath, and occasionally David won.
Photos (of Scott gearing up to board a military helicopter at Camp Pendleton and a self-portrait of Klika in Iraq) courtesy of Russell Klika.