South Dakota’s senior state government reporter, Bob Mercer, came to Aberdeen Friday to receive the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Mercer took time after the lunchtime ceremony to give this blog an extensive interview about journalism, Janklow, and the health scare that knocked him off the front page for a few weeks last winter. Here’s Part 1 (downloadable to your favorite device for listening later!), in which Mercer talks about the first half of his career: his path from Mrs. Pfau’s high school classroom in Wisconsin to papers in Wyoming and South Dakota. He talks about the people he worked with and the sequence of events that led him to be one of the few remaining reporters dedicated to covering state government in Pierre.
Update 2017.04.30 16:01 CDT: Check out Part 2, in which Mercer talks about his four years as Governor Bill Janklow’s press secretary…. [update 2017.05.01 08:15 CDT] and Part 3, in which Mercer talks about his illness and recovery this winter and spring.