My pal Jane Norman

One of my mentors in the news business has been Jane Norman.  Jane was covering the statehouse for The Des Moines Register when I started working as a statehouse reporter.  She was kind to a newbie who was green and wisely pointed me in the right direction through not only her sage advice, but her actions as a reporter.  She also knows how to share a good laugh. 

In her blog bio, Jane talks about her connection with Iowa: "Iowa has been my home, whether I’m living near or far, since I enrolled at Drake University as a freshman in 1977. I started out as an intern for the late lamented Des Moines Tribune in 1980 and was hired as a reporter in 1981 covering the city’s east side neighborhoods. I switched to the Register in 1982 and moved to the Washington bureau in 1988."

Once Jane left the confines of Des Moines and settled in The Register’s Washington, D.C. bureau, we saw one another infrequently but we have reconnected via that newfangled thing called email and we see one another on occasion when Jane’s out on the campaign trail. I fondly recall some of our travails at the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City.  In 2000 at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Jane and I conducted a long interview with then-Congressman Jim Leach on a variety of issues. The interview concluded, Leach stood and left the hotel lobby to ride the bus to the convention hall, only to turn around and return to the table where Jane and I were sitting.  "I should probably have mentioned that Dick Cheney and I shared an office," Leach began.  Yes, indeed, Leach had buried the lead, so to speak.

I may be guilty of burying the lead myself here today.  Jane is among The Register staff who have been laid off and that’s why you’ve been reading about Jane.  If you’re reading this Jane — thanks for the guidance in this profession, but thanks even more for sharing the giggles and the outright guffaws.  Some whistle while they work, but I prefer to laugh and you’ve been a grand partner in that effort.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Robert Roberts says

    I for one am delighted to hear of Norman’s firing.
    The destruction of the Register should be the goal.