Back in the 1980s, I moved to California to work at the Orange County Register , where, at the time, the real estate beat was covered by a woman named Jane Glenn Haas. I never knew her very well, but she seemed like one of those old-fashioned newspaper reporters, the ones who'd been cultivating sources for so long that she could dig up more insights by thumbing her Rolodex than I probably could from Google today. On one of my first shifts she was kind enough to give me a few pointers about California architecture for a story about a new housing development, which saved me from looking like an East Coast rube.
Pauline Friedman Phillips was her name. But for decades, America knew the Sioux City, Iowa, native as Abigail Van Buren, a.k.a. "Dear Abby," the newspaper advice columnist famed for giving readers a kick-in-the-pants with witty, acidic ripostes - at least when they deserved it.
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