Since You Asked: Hutchinson left a lasting impression in newsroom

Has anyone worked in your newsroom longer than Peg Hutchinson? We were wondering about that after reading her obituary earlier this month. She surely had to be one of the longest "newsies" you folks have had over the years.

— A.J., Medford

Peg, who is sorely missed after dying at age 82, was definitely one of the longest working Mail Tribune newsroom employees, although there are those in circulation and other departments who had worked for the paper longer.

For the record, Peg was part of the newsroom staff for 42 years after starting here in 1956 and retiring in 1998. But she did some freelance work for us after retiring, so that would bump up her employment a bit. She would write, edit and win awards over the years.

In a 2007 interview, she boiled down journalism to the bare essentials.

"You find out something, and then you understand it, and then you tell others," she concluded.

While she was working for the newspaper, she spent a month each year abroad, at her own expense, filing and selling stories from more than 120 countries. During the Vietnam War, she traveled to Southeast Asia to file stories on the war for the Mail Tribune and other publications.

Close behind her in MT tenacity is Cleve Twitchell. Among his many newsroom roles in his 41-year career were city editor, lifestyles editor and Tempo editor, but he was probably best known for his weekly dining column, The Long Weekend. He retired in June 2002 but continues to write a wine column for the paper.

Robert Ruhl, who joined the staff in 1911, leading the paper to a Pulitzer Prize in 1934 before retiring in the mid-1950s, appears to have been our longest employee on the news side. He was both editor and publisher over the years.

Yet there have been so many impressive folks over the century-plus we have been around. We cannot forget the late Eric Allen, a gifted editor who worked on the paper for 37 years before retiring in 1985.

Another longtime newsroom employee was the late Olive Starcher, who retired as the women's news editor in 1972 after 31 years. Incidentally, we have long since dropped that position, figuring that news is neither male nor female.

When it comes to longevity with the paper, we cannot forget Richard Morgan, who retired after 50 years in 1993 after starting as a carrier and working his way up in the print shop.

The person who worked at the MT the longest is the late Gerald "Jerry" Latham, who started as a paper carrier in 1924 and retired as vice president and general manager in 1978 after 54 years.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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