Last May, my old Billings Gazette colleague Dennis Gaub wrote a profile of Norm Clarke for Last Best News, just before Clarke came back to Montana to deliver the commencement address to graduates of Montana State University Billings. This is how Dennis’ article started:
“Norm Clarke agrees: he’s come a long way from his small-town start.
“His lengthy journalism career began when he was in high school in his Eastern Montana hometown of Terry. The personable Clarke talked the editor of the local weekly newspaper, the Terry Tribune, into letting him report on a Class C basketball tournament in a nearby town.”
Yes, he has come a long way, and on Friday Clarke was given the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. An editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, for which Clarke has been the man-about-town/gossip columnist for 16 years, pointed out that past recipients of the award have included Tom Brokaw, P.J. O’Rourke, George Will, Mike Royko and Bob Costas.
Not bad for the kid from Terry. Dennis’ story, and my own brief brushes with Clarke, made it obvious that he hasn’t lost touch with his small-town Montana roots and that he remains a genuinely nice guy. Our congratulations on this latest honor.