NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Former NS reporter – Lisa Kim Bach – posthumously inducted into the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame
News-Sentinel.com today pays homage to a former News-Sentinel reporter whose newspaper career was cut short by cancer but whose name has been immortalized in the state where she made her biggest impact.
Lisa Kim Bach was a reporter for The News-Sentinel from 1989-1997, first for the newspaper’s popular Neighbors section and then as its education reporter.
Her skills took her to Nevada’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, in 1997 for the remainder of her career, which ended with her death from cancer in 2016 at age 49. On Saturday she was recognized for her impact on journalism by being inducted by the Nevada Press Association into its Hall of Fame, where her name will be enshrined along with others from throughout the years, including a former Nevada newspaper reporter with the pen name Mark Twain.
Born in Korea to an Army father and his Korean wife, Bach grew up on a Kentucky farm. Her 27-year journalism career began at the Modesto (Calif.) Bee in 1988, and after graduating from California State University, Fresno with honors in 1989, she worked a short time at the Clovis Independent and Fresno Bee that same year before landing in Fort Wayne for an eight-year stay at The News-Sentinel where she produced nearly 2,000 bylines.
She left Fort Wayne for a 19-year career at the Review-Journal, where she produced more than 1,700 bylines and won numerous Nevada Press Association awards. But she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 after serving as assistant city editor for nearly eight years, and she died five months later.
As a reporter at the The News Sentinel, Bach learned of an investigation into whether a local union treasurer had emptied the union’s bank account, a story that carried over to her new job in Las Vegas. Stephen Confer, the Indiana State Teacher Association’s former liaison with the Fort Wayne Education Association, moved to Las Vegas in the midst of the scandal, and, according to a Review-Journal story about Bach following her death, the intrepid reporter just happened to begin her new position at the newspaper about the same time.
The Review-Journal story by reporter Bethany Barnes, said that when Bach learned of Confer’s move to take a job as executive director of the Clark County Classroom Teachers Association, she continued to pursue the story that had begun in Fort Wayne. It ended with Confer’s resignation, indictment and guilty plea in 1999 after he was charged on 20 counts of embezzling more than $35,000 in union funds.
Barnes wrote that Bach’s sources “knew she cared deeply for her profession and wouldn’t abandon a story that needed to come to light. Bach,” she wrote, “embodied a truism of her profession: ‘Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: Everything else is public relations.’ ”