Why journalism is still cool

8thgrade

It’s my parents’ fault.

Like so many other reporters, my love of journalism began early.

We were a newspaper family.  The kind whose dad sat everyone down at the dinner table and read the day’s most interesting story. Out loud. Because he didn’t quite trust us kids to read it all the way through. Or, if we did finish it, he worried we wouldn’t quite grasp the most important part. To be certain, he read it to us: From the headline to the last graph.

Around eighth grade, I stopped begrudging the frequent interruptions. I would come home from school, snatch the Wall Street Journal off the kitchen table, and dive right into the A-Hed.  The colorful characters profiled in those front-page columns captivated my attention, but what I really marveled at were the writers who got to meet them and tell their stories.

How cool, I thought. It’s somebody’s job to find these people, ask them questions, and write it all down.

Twenty years later, I still think what we journalists do is pretty damn cool. I’m lucky to be one of those reporters trained by old-school editors to be accurate, fair, and first; but who now has the opportunity to connect with new audiences and tell stories in fresh ways through online platforms.

It’s easy amid the daily deadline stress, industry upheaval, and newsroom cuts to forget about that word nerd who fell in love with newspapers. My plan is to use this space to reflect on the joys (and, yes, tribulations) of journalism so that I don’t lose sight of why I’m doing this. Though if I do, a quick trip to the mailbox will most likely yield an envelop of carefully selected newspaper clips sent to me by my parents.

Yes, mom and dad. I read the story.

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