I feel a duty to write obituaries. But I also like to do it. Writing with the intention to share with the public helps me be more careful with my remembrances and measured in my assessments of people.
Nikki Finke was a complicated, difficult person. But she was helpful to me at the moment I needed it most — when I was drinking from a firehose as the brand new editor of the New York Observer. Having come from politics—and conservative politics at that—everyone in Manhattan media greeted me with suspicion. Some with contempt. Nikki had loved the Observer when she worked there and adored Peter Kaplan, the editor who shaped the Observer and himself still cared about it years after he’d left.
She was generous with advice for me and I’m grateful. I hope my obituary for her correctly captured that.