A few thoughts on Frank Cagle

Travis Dorman of the News Sentinel wrote an excellent obituary on the life of Frank Cagle.

Here are a few less eloquent thoughts from the years I worked with him.

Frank Cagle leaves a big footprint in Tennessee journalism.

As a journalist, he honed his skills at small town newspapers in Alabama and intimately knew every side of the business.

He had a great instinct of what is news and doggedly pursued or challenged reporters to pursue a story. He was always looking for the story behind the story.

Frank was a great storyteller — regaling listeners with tales of colorful scoundrels and heroes complete with plot twists — and he put that storytelling ability to bear in editing and his own writing.

As manager, a host of journalists have Frank to thank for giving them an opportunity or in advancing their careers in journalism.

He also shaped coverage by the News Sentinel to include topics that had long been ignored or minimized or were somewhat out of the box.

He often and regularly challenged “conventional wisdom.”

As an opinion writer, he could wield a very sharp pencil. By the end of a column, you were never left wondering what opinion really was. Even if you disagreed with him, his columns were — and are — entertaining to read.

As a political observer, he loved to talk politics and he had a keen understanding of the dynamics of Southern politics and voters.

Photo caption: A News-Sentinel news meeting circa 1990 with Bob Norris, left, Vince Vawter, Sonya Doctorian, Linda Fields, Jack Lail, Amy Nolan and Frank Cagle. (NEWS SENTINEL ARCHIVE / Jack Kirkland)