Steven B. Miller, managing editor for Nevada Journal, is a native Nevadan. He grew up in and around the Humboldt County township of Winnemuca, which sits on the banks of northern Nevada’s Humboldt River.
The landscape is one of small ranches, worked-out and working mines, and intelligent, attractive, once-sheepherding Basque-American families. Products of an indigenous culture in the Pyrenees long respectful of local common law — but regularly attacked by Spain’s central governments — the Basques, ever since the 1830s, have relocated in repeated waves to Northern Nevada and Idaho.
Miller’s own family, coming out of Texas, was heavy with teachers — grandfather, grandmother, mother and older sister — and so, long before entering grade school, he had learned to read and was actively reading to learn.
Public school, subsequently, surprised him, as he’d expected something vital and engaging. Instead, as his first-grade teacher realized the extent of his vocabulary, she disengaged, ignored his appetite to learn and focused instead on the lagging students. Understandable, perhaps, but after running into two different sadistic teachers later in grammar school, he, too, was effectively disengaged.
It was only later, when in the U.S. Army and able to pursue in the post library topics personally interesting to him, did Miller realize that in the 16-or-so years of public schooling, his curiosity and drive for learning had been effectively, systematically, anesthetized. That discovery — while he did not yet realize it — was major for him and would affect the rest of his life. It has also, no doubt, played a significant role in the quantity of education-related investigative reporting that is prominent on this Nevada Journal website.