At Argus Leader, wear a necktie or get lost

Longtime South Dakota newspaper editor Ralph Nachtigal penned the following item as part of his “From the Bottom of the Barrel” column in the Platte Enterprise. It is worth a read, even if the punch line comes at my boss’ expense.

I can assure you that the Argus Leader dress code has relaxed quite a bit since Ralph’s stint in Sioux Falls, but the part about “coaches, bowlers and other lowlifes” occasionally rings true.

I’ll let Ralph take over from here:

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that way back in 1965 the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and I parted company. Seems that an edict had come down from on high that newsroom men would be required to wear neckties while at work.

Being single, almost out of debt and thought of myself as independent, I said “no.” I did say that I would wear a necktie while outside the building while representing the Argus Leader at football games, Huset Speedway, the golf courses, etc., but I wouldn’t wear a necktie in the building. The sports department was stuck back in the corner and only coaches, bowlers and other lowlifes came back to see us.

 The Argus Leader prevailed. I got my walking papers and ended up in Platte.

Nephew Jerry Nachtigal, who works at Citibank in Sioux Falls, related this story to me just last week.

Randell Beck, current publisher of the Argus Leader, was asked to speak on the changes in the newspaper industry in recent years to a large group of Citibank employees. Jerry was the master of ceremonies.

He noted that Beck had on a suit with no necktie while Jerry was wearing a suit and tie. Jerry related that his uncle had been fired from the Argus Leader years ago because he wouldn’t wear a necktie.

He said that since Mr. Beck wasn’t wearing a tie, he took his off and gave it to him and said it was a gift “of his Uncle Ralph.” The room erupted with laughter.

Revenge is sweet. Thanks, Jerry.