Some good news about journalism

… Isn’t it about time for some encouraging words? A New York Times editor, describing his first days at the paper:

It was a Tuesday in early spring 1993, my second day at The New York Times. I had that nervous newbie look, with a too-pressed shirt and half an expectation that someone would bounce me back onto 43rd Street…

Things turned out O.K. There was a place for me, for the fortunate reason that journalism is a big rambling house with many rooms–not just Foreign Correspondence (trench coats in the closet), but also Graphics, Investigations, Web Video and on and on, all in need of people with special talents and special interests…

To me, my personal newsroom journey proves that if you love some aspect of writing, you need not worry that you are not [Pulitzer Prize winner] John Burns. True, from the outside, which is where I was on that April day, the Burnsian heights seemed unscalable. But the good news for journalistic and literary aspirants is this: when you discover a love for some particular writing thing, as I did, that love transports you to the inside, and the world there doesn’t look nearly so daunting.

– Francis Flaherty, The Elements of Story

[I’ve been reading Flaherty’s book since moving to D.C., and it’s excellent. It’s certainly one of my top three books on writing, in the ranks of William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools.]

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