Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Weekly editor wins $2.7M in California lottery, keeps on reporting community news

If you won the lottery, what would you do? Mary Duan, editor of the Monterey County Weekly, has decided to keep reporting community news, despite her husband's winning $2.7 million in the state lottery, reports Jim Romenesko.

Mary Duan
"I told [publisher Erik] Cushman about the win and maybe not-so-gently suggested he start shopping for my replacement while I was on vacation. To keep a long story short, they [the publisher and the CEO] talked me out of it. I’m still here," Duan writes in a column, "Everything you ever wanted to know about winning a chunk of Lotto money."

When people ask what she's going to do with the money, Duan writes, "After the government gets its cut (and no, Monterey County GOP henchman Paul Bruno, we are not suddenly going to convert to the GOP because of the tax rate), it’s still an astounding amount of money for regular working folks. So what are we going to do? Pay for our kids’ college. Finish the flooring and put baseboards in the big stupid Victorian we’ve been working on for the past five years. Replace that damn piece of tile in the kitchen that’s been broken for about six months. Give to a few local charities we like, ones that focus on feeding the poor and giving shelter to the homeless. Give to our old church in Berkeley, which provides sanctuary to political refugees from Central America (I can almost hear Bruno’s cries of agony over that one). But we’re going to bank most of it because it means we can both retire someday."

While Duan was on vacation, her co-workers turned her desk into a shrine, writes managing editor Mark Anderson. "The significance of some of the shrine’s totems is self-evident. Those include a jar of Advil, a small bag of Kranky Mexican cookies, a Yoda statue and a Yoda Pez dispenser. There are four scratched-off lottery scratchers and a Quail Motorsports Bonhams auction catalog, because she can now afford things like the rare 1924 'Pegasus' hood ornament (estimated value $5,000-$6,000). Other artifacts are more symbolic. Like the orange electric pepper grinder, presumably placed there because good journalism is a hell of a grind, with a little peppery kick. Or the can of SPAM, because quality reporting involves synthesizing a lot of disparate ingredients into something vaguely digestible."

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