Angst of the Newswriter
“Newspaper writing is not writing. No more than shooting a basketball at your front-yard hoop is like playing in a basketball game with nine others. Or strumming a guitar is like playing in a band in front of 3,000 people. ‘Writer’ connotes the sun, reflecting on the forces around it. The reality of ‘newswriter’ is the asteroid, being tugged at violently from every angle—bitchy sources, bitchy competitors, bitchy editors, bitchy readers, deadlines, space limitations and the emotional fragility those pressures create.”
—Bob Baker, journalist, editor & author, “Newsthinking: The Secret of Great Newswriting” (1981). Bob Baker's Newsthinking. (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) Image: “Newspaperman in Paris,” Giovanni Boldini, 1878
• Editorial Comment: Mama wanted me to go into something kinder and gentler. Like air traffic control...
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(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff
TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.)
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.
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“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard