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Editorial: Name press box for Roger Carlson

June 11, 2011
  • A group of children from Newport-Mesa take a newsroom tour and watch Roger Carlson build a sports page on a computer in 2003.
A group of children from Newport-Mesa take a newsroom… (Don Leach, Daily…)

Naming the Davidson Field press box after Roger Carlson just makes sense. The former Daily Pilot sports editor spent a lot of his time working in the press box at Newport Harbor High, covering his favorite sport of football.

Carlson worked at the Pilot for 39 years. He started as a part-time reporter in 1964 and was the sports editor from 1988 to 2003. He paid close attention to providing fair, comprehensive and positive coverage of the Newport-Mesa high schools. The Pilot will always be known as the newspaper for which Roger Carlson worked.

Carlson retired in 2003, but before then he had reached iconic status among local high school sports. A celebration is in order. A tribute to the man is needed.

When he retired, Carlson tried to leave quietly, with little fanfare. He didn't care for parties in his honor. It's a way he went about his work, behind the scenes and always wanting to be better than the previous day.

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Did you know that Carlson was in the movie "Ali"? No, he wasn't entirely near Will Smith, who played the famed boxer. Carlson was an extra, playing one of the many sportswriters who were getting the story at a press conference.

That was Carlson: in the background, hard at work. He didn't need the credit.

Sure, he took the byline. And he had several of those. With each one he seemed to earn the respect of many in the community.

He had covered the Dodgers, the Angels, many Rose Bowls, USC and UCLA football, Super Bowls and the 1984 Summer Olympics. He brought the same professionalism to his coverage of high school sports.

Maybe those who enter the press box as reporters will recognize that they are there to work.

That's what Roger was there to do. He wanted to put out the best story. He wanted readers to anticipate the story in the Daily Pilot each day.

The name makes sense: The Roger Carlson Press Box.

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