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Where have some former Oklahoma Gazette writers, editors gone?



Phil Bacharach, former staff writer and associate editor and current contributor: "I left the Gazette in 1999 to become deputy press secretary for Gov. Frank Keating," wrote Bacharach, who also penned a Timothy McVeigh piece for Esquire magazine. "As his second term came to a close, I returned to KWTV-Channel 9 (where I had worked before the Gazette) as its assignments manager. I have been Gov. Brad Henry's press secretary since 2004. I'm married and have two children, two dogs, one cat, one fish and little sleep. I am proud to say I still contribute to the Gazette as a film reviewer and occasional features writer."

Holly Bailey, former staff writer: "I left the Gazette in 1999 and moved to Washington, where I am now the White House correspondent for Newsweek magazine," wrote Bailey, the recipient of the 2009 JayMac Young Professional Award at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

"I've been on this beat for five years: I covered the last term of Bush, and now I am covering Obama. Last year, I was the magazine's lead reporter covering the GOP presidential race, which meant I spent a lot of time with Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and, ultimately, John McCain. It's a job that has taken me all over the world and allowed me a front-row seat to not only history but some seriously weird moments. I was with Bush when he went to post-Katrina New Orleans for the first time, and I got stranded with Dick Cheney in Afghanistan a few years ago. Earlier this year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy yelled at me at a press conference in France, and I didn't have one clue what he was saying because I didn't have an interpreter. A few days after that, I was in Baghdad with Obama, trailing him as he walked into one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces. I was surprised how nice the place was, considering it is in the middle of a war zone. There was lots of fancy stone work and shiny marble. I found myself measuring it the way I have always ranked houses that I happen to see on the job: Is it as nice as a house in Heritage Hills? The answer: Not even close."

Mike Brake, former contributor and humor columnist: "I did a number of cover stories (including the now-infamous day at a nudist camp feature)," Brake wrote. "After that I was speechwriter for Gov. Frank Keating and now serve as senior policy advisor for Congresswoman Mary Fallin. I do remember Pam Fleischaker's constant agonies over my columns, which were not liberal, and hence, drew much hate mail from the nutty left on a regular basis."

Heidi Rambo Centrella, former editorial coordinator, staff writer and contributing editor: "Upon graduation, OCU hired me as an instructor of print media, replacing my professor and first editor of the Gazette, Randy Splaingard " small world," Centrella wrote. "The next year, I was offered and accepted the tenure-track faculty position as assistant professor of mass communications, teaching print media and serving as faculty adviser for the school newspaper, The Campus. In January 2004, I returned to the newsroom full time as a reporter for The Journal Record, where I covered business news in Oklahoma City. After one year, in January 2005, Bill Bleakley offered me the opportunity to return 'home' to N.W. 36th and Shartel, serving as editor of OKCBiz. I've been here ever since."

Jerry Church, former receptionist, music columnist and contributing editor:  "Looking back, I relished the 10 years that I spent with the paper, and believe that the name recognition that I attained through the Gazette has helped establish my brand in the community," wrote Church, who now works as director of media and public relations for the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. "I feel at times I was the original Simon Cowell, except he figured out how to make money off of it.

I meet people every day who know me, or recognize my name, and my association with the Oklahoma Gazette always helps me open doors and get things done. I am grateful for that, and for all of the friends and great people I met along the way."

Mike Easterling, former editor:  After leaving the Gazette on Sept. 14, 2001, Easterling worked for the Santa Fe, N.M., bureau of the Albuquerque Journal. He is now a reporter for Urban Tulsa.

Ben Fenwick, former staff writer and current contributor:  Fenwick, who wrote about Timothy McVeigh's confession for Playboy magazine, is now public relations coordinator at Rose State College.

Pam Fleischaker, former associate editor and columnist:  "After leaving the Gazette as a staff member, Full Circle Press published a collection of my columns, titled 'American Woman: Lost and Found in Oklahoma.' The book was revised, expanded, and the revised edition was published in 2007. Soon after that, I came to New York for the unexpected life-giving and life-altering experience of receiving a new heart in a transplant in January 2008. I've been living in NYC since with my husband (and two grown kids who live here) recovering. It's been a wild ride, this big, bigger, biggest surgery followed by nearly two years of beating down complications and recovering, too. Maybe I'll write about it."

Emily Graham, staff writer: "I went on to work at The Journal Record, then for a business weekly in Boston. Now I live in Atlanta and am senior editor for School Family Media."

Susan Grossman, former staff writer and managing editor, current contributor:  "I resigned as managing editor in June 2004 to join the marketing and communications department for University of Oklahoma Outreach. I was hired to develop and implement a comprehensive public relations program for this 1,000-member organization, which includes the College of Continuing Education and the College of Liberal Studies. In that role, I oversee media relations, the writing and editing of a variety of collateral materials, and the coordination of internal and external communications and publications. Three years ago, I was promoted to assistant director of the department. The talented team with whom I work has garnered a number of awards, including a 'Best of Show' for our external magazine, and I currently serve as vice president of the Oklahoma College Public Relations Association. In my spare time, I volunteer on the OU campus, in the Norman community, as well as for Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and am a regular contributor to a number of local, regional and national magazines, including Oklahoma Gazette. By far my proudest achievements are my two children, Geoffrey, 19, who is in his second year at Oklahoma City Community College and Athena, 16, a junior at Norman High School." 

Preston Jones, former calendar editor, listings editor, staff writer and entertainment editor: "I moved on from OKG in 2007 to become the pop music critic at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In my current role, I still get a chance to write about all facets of pop culture, but also focus on music in the North Texas area, a sprawling task given the depth and breadth of talent found in Fort Worth, Dallas and Denton. Since coming to the Star-T, I've also begun contributing heavily to the paper's entertainment-oriented Web site,"

George Lang, former staff writer:   Lang became assistant entertainment editor at The Oklahoman in 2004, where he writes features and reviews on film and music.

Elizabeth Lowry, former staff writer: "I am assistant director of communications/Web content for University of Washington Medicine in Seattle," Lowry wrote. "I have a garden, a couple of backyard chickens, an aging Siberian Husky whom we rescued 10 years ago from the Warr Acres Animal Shelter and a new collie-mix puppy. My toddler is now in high school, and the baby is now a middle-schooler. My husband and I drink way too much coffee and are on a constant quest to find the hoppiest beer in the Pacific Northwest. I blog all-too-infrequently at And I have a bottle of Oklahoma red dirt on my desk at work to remind me how far I've come."

Jonathan Nicholson, former staff writer: "These days, I cover the House of Representatives party leadership and federal budget beats for a legal newsletter publisher, BNA Inc. It's not quite 180 degrees from the Gazette, but suffice to say, the atmosphere is different where one of the jokes about the company is that 'adjectives are checked at the door.' I live in Washington and still get back to Oklahoma to visit Mom about twice a year. ... I still pick up the Gazette when I'm in town and am amazed at how good it still looks."

Lisa Smith, former staff writer: Smith is an attorney based in Texas.

Randy Splaingard, former editor: Splaingard left the Gazette in January 1991 for a TV job and later served as a professor of mass communication at Oklahoma City University and faculty adviser of the student paper. He also worked at The Record newspaper in Bergen County, N.J., and is listed in the communication department at William Paterson University.

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