Posts Tagged ‘ Small Town Reporter ’

A Tip of the Yarmulke to Lou Gehrig

2009.04.15
By

In the entire time I covered the Sonoma City Council, I only took the podium thrice: once to ask for clarification, once to offer my then-employer‘s help with disseminating something of civic importance, and once when the mayor declared 1/17/01 as “Neal Ross Day” when I first left the Index-Tribune. (Geeez.) Tonight will be the fourth:

—–

Mr. Mayor, members of the City Council and of the public, thank you. I’m Neal Ross Attinson, 21 France St. #1, perpetual part-time rabbinical student and former full-time reporter.

It’s a busy night, so I won’t take up too much time, and anyway I?m more comfortable sitting over there writing than standing up here talking. But I was told that a few people wanted to know where I’ve been for the past few months, and since most of those people are integral to the city in some way it seemed appropriate to address you tonight.

Many of you know I was covering the city and public-safety beats for the Sonoma Valley Sun until incapacitating abdominal pain took me off the job in December. Without going into details (which are available at my blog, metaphorager.net — for the record, m-e-t-a-p-h-o-r-a-g-e-r), suffice to say that after five months, 40 pounds, two surgeries and six hospitalizations there’s no relief and no clear diagnosis yet. But we haven’t given up.

Last Wednesday, my pharmacist informed me that my health insurance had been canceled, and two days later I learned that I was no longer employed by the Sonoma Valley Sun. That being the case, I wanted to thank some people without whom I wouldn’t be here now.

A Yiddish proverb says, “Life is with people.” A reporter has to be (or pretend to be) the dumbest guy in the room in order to learn as much as he can. If he’s not dumb, he soon learns that everyone he meets is his teacher. I was going to read a list of my teachers during the past eleven years … but instead: If I ever wrote anything with any degree of accuracy, compassion or insight — or if, while talking with you, my eyes (or yours) lit up with an “Ahhh…HA!” gleam — I owe you the shiniest of apples. To those people whose tragedy and privacy I invaded in order to tell the public their stories, I offer my apologies, as well as my gratitude for your trust.

Most of all, I thank Ann, my wife and best friend of 20 years, for not giving up — and for not letting me give up. The Talmud says that a man only lives through the merit of his wife; if that’s true, I should live forever.

Thank you, Sonoma Valley, for letting me write about you — and thank you, Mr. Mayor, for letting me speak. Good night.

———-

I must say that feels very weird to do this. Since a reporter has to know “everyone in town” (as Mark Twain points out to great tragicomic effect near the aft end of Roughing It), it makes sense that people might wonder where he went and why he isn’t coming back. But I don’t usually think in terms of “everyone in town” (rather, the 100 to 200 people who are engaged with it) knowing me. One never knows where the teacher will be next…

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Poetry of News

2008.06.01
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There is a certain poetry to newswriting that’s not readily apparent to its readers — and perhaps not even to its writers.

This derives in large part, I think, from the absurdity inherent in exchanging six to eight hours a day for six to eight hundred words a story which will be forgotten by next week.

It’s the game of Reality Creation, newsriting is. My job is to tell you what happened in a place you didn’t see. Though I labor to get it right (literally, with sweat and grunting and everything), my account is necessarily incomplete and should be taken with a grain of salt. (As should everyone else’s, of course: including yours.)

This is to me, a Most Sacred Game. There is adrenaline and drudgery and laughter, an unspoken trust, the agonies of ignorance and the illusion of omniscience. The greatest challenge is in sifting through my immediate experience to share the highlights. So much gets left on the cutting room floor:

  • The moment of communicating to a bystander/potential interviewee that you know that they know It’s That Situation — and that since it’s obvious let’s see what happens.
  • Standing in front of a crime-scene house. A shotgun murder occurred in the back of the house, and all I could see of the crime scene were the eyes and faces of the four deputies in the backyard.
  • The wave of relieved wonder (and cooing) that rolls through a group of humans who’ve waited two tense hours to see the mountain lion finally sedated — and healthy.
  • The satisfaction of flashing a press pass and continuing on unimpeded.
  • The vocal nuances peculiar to those first learning what one does for a living.
  • Two other nuances: those who suddenly find themselves “on the record” and those who, gratefully, do not.
  • Yet another: those whose unwilling investment in the bank of public notice has paid unwelcome returns.
  • The unrelenting and inescapable terror of Getting It Wrong — or worse, not being aware enough to Get It Right In The First Place.

There is no other buzz quite like it. I heartily recommend it to everyone — and most especially, its detractors.

“As I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings.”
?H. L. Mencken, The Baltimore Sun, 1953

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First Week In

2008.04.16
By

Three things:

- My beats: fire, cops, breaking news, and meetings as needed.
- I work with some freakishly smart, amazingly creative people; two of whom I have now dueled with a lightsaber.
- The Game hasn’t changed much — get it fast, get it right, and get it (or a different part of it) first. Many of the players have also changed, but the ones who haven’t seem as happy to seem me as I am to see them.

Last week also found me chasing a fire, investigating a vehicle crash (no injuries, thank Gd), touring a local farm, and chatting with a now-retiring fire chief friend. It’s great to “be” a small-town newspaperman.

Again.

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And so, to work.

2008.04.08
By

It was four-and-a-half months since I was laid off from the sasonal office-manager position at a local nursery, and longer still since I worked in my official profession, when I picked up the phone to call Sonoma Valley’s newest newspaper. The conversation went something like this:

“Hi, I’ve been out of work for five years but I think I can help. Do you need any reporters?”

“Sure!”

Well, not exactly like that. But pretty close. Anyway, I started yesterday at the Sonoma Valley Sun, and will be covering fires, cops/courts, and breaking news. (In addition to whatever else is needful, like features and (I hope!) columns.) Also, I’ve reclaimed the byline “Neal Ross” (which I adopted for radio back in 1995 since nobody can seem to spell or pronounce “Attinson,” and kept for newspapering since that’s how all my contacts knew me. They still do).

There’s a saying that the One rewards men only for the merit of their wives. I don’t generally hold with Deuteronomic reward/punishment theology, but seeing the relief on Ann‘s face makes me agree with at least a small part of it … Blessed is the One who makes our wives happy.

As for me, I feel as though I’m walking in a dream. But I’d better wake up before the deadline. ;-)

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… re-echo …

2003.02.27
By

here’s what I wrote in a recent column…

Screaming in the dark
2/14/03
By Neal Ross

If you live among human beings, you must never mention how terribly, nakedly vulnerable we all are ? because we all spend a good deal of our lives trying to pretend we?re not.

I don?t know why that is; I suspect it?s related to our biosurvival imperative, which tries to keep us going against all odds. Intense pain is one of those odds: we humans like to build little consensual hallucinations to overlay and influence our perceptions, and intense pain ? physical, spiritual, or emotional ? shatters our careful efforts like a child?s foot through a sandcastle.

Since Dec. 27, I?ve discovered that the most profound and interesting of these pains is known as “deep grief.” On that day, Jim “Sputnik” Gjerde, my lifelong best friend (read: “psychic twin and other half”), died after spending two weeks in a coma brought on by a genetic-diabetes-related heart attack. And since then, I?ve been sifting sand and wondering what happened.

(I rarely read columns written about best friends who have just died, and writing this I realize why: If you didn?t know the person, or experience first-hand a similar loss, it won?t mean anything to you. But as death is the price of life, so is grief the price of love ? and we will all eventually experience at least one of these, in some flavor or another.)

“Deep grief” is the term used by my counselor at the Valley of the Moon Hospice Team (935-7504 ? a hard, but important, phone call), who is helping me cope with this first (for me) major loss. Deep grief (or what I?ve been calling “The Gray Sameness”) is when you don?t feel like eating, or sleeping, or working, or playing, or really doing much of anything except gazing blankly into the middle-distance, howling like an animal, and trying to melt into whatever surface is currently holding you up.

It hurts. A lot. More than can be imagined beforehand. But it also feels like an initiation into an exclusive but universal club. And therein lies The Mystery: “It cannot be borne, and yet it must.”

Generally speaking, I enjoy ungraspable mysteries ? I like the fact that the universe is bigger than my head; that some things can only be experienced, not explained. Grief is like that, but amid the rust and ashes there are glimmers of light ? definitely present though not always seen. And that?s exactly as it should be, at least for now.

A longtime friend called the other day to check on me. When he told me that his brother had died five years ago, I stopped in mid-mumble. “You know,” I said.

“Yes, I know,” he replied.

“So I don?t have to explain anything to you,” I said.

“Not one bit,” he said.

He then told me about the day, some time after his brother?s death, when he looked up and realized that he had just had a good hour. Sometime after that, the good time expanded to two hours. Then, eventually, a half-day. Then a whole day, two, a week. And so forth. The pain never left, but it did become manageable.

My friend then apologized for sounding superficial, and I told him there was no need: “You?re someone who?s traveled further down a path I?m currently walking, and telling me what it looks like. So thank you ? because right now, I have no idea how to even get to that first good minute.”

At this writing, I still don?t. But at least I know it?s coming ? and I hope to recognize it when it arrives.

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… And we’re back.

2002.09.25
By

Well, here’s the column. NOW I can go on. ;-)
………………………………………

How I spent my summer vacation

By Neal Ross

Monday night, I told my wife, Ann, “When I go back to work tomorrow, the medical hell of the past three months will be only a memory.”

And so, amazingly, it is.

I?m not trying to minimize it ? two isolating months of cancer (diagnosis, surgery and recovery) followed by an unexpected month of incapacitating, thyroid-related vision problems. But before you ask, I?m fine now. (As fine as any of us can ever be, anyway.) The cancer was treatable, the surgery was successful, and the more horrifying (to me) thyroid condition is, so far, responding to steroid therapy. I?m indebted to the 21st century?s remarkable medical technology, which can often see inside our bodies, find small problems before they mushroom, and occasionally fix them. I?m also indebted to, and grateful for, the unconditional love, support and care I received from so many of the people reading this. But I wouldn?t still be here without Ann, who heroically dealt with everything I dealt with during the last three months ? plus the crushing mixture of helpless frustration common to family caregivers everywhere.

Let?s face it: if you?ve been there (and you might have; the cancer club is getting bigger every day, except for the part that?s getting smaller), you know. If not, I can?t really tell you. And that?s kind of the point of this column.

One of the first things I learned this summer was the power of the unexpected. When Ann and I “got the news” on June 18, her first reaction was emotional. Mine was simultaneously philosophical (“Well, I guess I can use this experience in a few years after I finish rabbinical school”) and absurd (“I wonder if cancer patients get a discount at Denny?s?”).

That sort of floored me; I expected shock, fear, even hopelessness. So the second thing I learned was to pay attention ? for the first time in my 40 years ? to how I actually felt, and why.

Now, as I rejoin the world outside my apartment walls, I feel simultaneously deeper and more shallow. Deeper, because I understand more than I did three months ago. More shallow, because I better understand the limits of my own understanding.

Part of the depth is that I am mostly seeing the whole horrible affair as a gift rather than a curse, since I learned so much from it. And part of the shallowness is that after three months of talking about little else than “How are you feeling today?” I can barely bring myself to write another word about it.

I was terribly lucky ? to have such a loving community to help Ann and I through all this; to have access to competent medical care; and, to put it in firefighters? parlance, that everything was “light smoke showing” instead of “fully involved.” Not everyone is so lucky. Who knows ? I may not be next time, if there is a next time. But luck is only part of the equation.

Four days before my cancer diagnosis, I wrote a column about my two favorite modern Israeli sayings ? “zeh ma yesh (that?s what it is)” and “y?hyeh b?seder (it?ll all be okay).” Back then, I said these phrases were two intertwined halves of a healthy world view ? unsentimental pragmatism and unfounded optimism. Both sayings served me well during the past three months, and I expect them to do so in the future.

That could change at any moment. Meanwhile, I?m keeping my eyes and heart open to what this moment looks like. And I guess I?ll see what the next moment looks like when I get there.

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frontal dispatch

2002.09.24
By

I am now trying to write a 15-inch column about the Summer of Tzuris, at my newsdesk, on a new iMac, while hordes of people are giving me intermittent hugs and questions on my first day back at work. It’s 2:15 p.m. I have an appointment to meet the Sonoma fire chief at 4:30 p.m. to tour (and write about) the city’s new fire house. My column must be finished by 4:15, I think. I have rewritten the lead at least three times, and messed with the first 3 inches about six times. This is all I have, so far. And the clock, which waits for no one, is slowly and inexorably eating up my remaining deadline…

Life is good. ;-)

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Trial By Fire Trainer

2002.04.30
By

The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t see or hear anything. And on top of that, I could barely breathe.

My knees and hands already hurt from the rough steel floor. The hose I was helping to drag weighed a ton, despite that the two other guys in front of me knew what they were doing and were holding up their end better than I was. When I tried to lift my head, my helmet smacked against the top of the airtank cinched on my back, forcing me to look at the floor or squat back on my heels. But I was previously told to stay as low as I could, so that didn’t seem like a good idea. In any case, my face mask was halfway fogged up, so all I could see — and that dimly — was a dull red glow at an indeterminate distance ahead.

The man closest to me, who had previously told me to stay an arm’s length behind him, turned his head in my direction. “Flaghhh! Flagghhn!” he shouted above the muffled white noise of fire and smoke generators and the clicking whine of my airtank.

“What? I can’t hear you!” I replied.

He gestured me forward, then put his mask close to mine. “Flagghn toff the fire!” he said urgently, and crawled forward.

I scooted forward along with him, crawling past a sheet of flame under the stairs to my right and toward the further glow which resolved itself into an upward-licking fountain of fire boiling up to and against the ceiling.

The man in front of him aimed the hose nozzle at the fountain. Through my soaking leather gloves, I felt the canvas tube jerk softly as he opened the nozzle, sweeping it in an arc parallel to the floor.

My breathing became labored and painful. I felt like I was trying to suck the whole airtank into my mouth with each desperate breath. My chest hurt and I fought the urge to claw the constricting mask from my face.

“I can’t breathe!” I shouted.

No one heard me.

I tapped the shoulder of the man in front of me. He leaned toward me, a caricatured shadow against the leaping flame behind him.

“I can’t breathe!” I repeated.

I’m not sure what happened next. I think he managed to hear me, and communicate my distress to the man in front of him, then pointed behind me. Somehow or other, I found myself crawling toward the door by which we’d entered, keeping my right hand on the wall so I wouldn’t get disoriented. The safety officer opened the door for me, and I stood up and outside in one motion, trying calmly but desperately to reach the fresh sweet air millimeters away on the other side of my protective headgear.

Succeeding with careful dignity, I inhaled deeply and walked over to sit down on a low brick wall edging some bushes behind the Valley of the Moon main firehouse.

It was 8:30 a.m., Sunday, April 28, 2002. I had just had my first real taste of structural firefighting, and I felt like a wuss.

Cut to a month or so earlier…

When I first returned to the Index-Tribune and was heartily reacquainting myself with the “fire guys,” I was discussing what I’d missed with a longtime and close contact who had since become the training officer for the entire Valley fire service. He’s one of the local “old-timers” hereabouts, one of four or six with whom I used to chat (frequently and happily) and who exude the quietly confident competence that’s particular to people who have done what they love for so long that it’s first nature to them. The annual Valley volunteer fire academy was just starting up, and as I love to write the stories behind the stories — especially about the fire guys, who before Sept. 11 were commonly perceived to be doing nothing all day except waiting for the alarm to ring — I asked him if there would be anything particularly interesting to tell people about.

“Well, we’ll be having the fire trailer come down here,” he said. “How do you feel about putting on turnouts and an SCBA and doing some live fire training?”

I replied as I usually do (and as he and everyone else in the Valley fire service expects) when a similar suggestion is made.

“Cooooool!” I breathed. “When?”

The arrangements were made, and we spoke again a day or two beforehand.

“Should I bring my yellows?” I asked, referring to the wildland turnouts (Nomex protective clothing), emblazoned “PRESS,” which I wear when covering big grass fires.

“No,” he said. “Structural firefighting is a whoooole different ballgame.”

Something in the way he said that sent a tickle of apprehension through my brain. He asked me if I was claustrophobic and if I’d ever done any scuba diving, then when I said “no,” asked if I felt okay about using a SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus, or airtank and mask) with only five minutes’ instruction.

“Yes,” I said, wondering what I was getting into. Then he asked me for my shoe, pant and jacket sizes, and said he’d also get me some gloves and a helmet.

I arrived at the VOM station around 8 a.m. to find a couple of dozen men standing around the main engine bay in various states of firefighter undress, checking airtanks and other equipment and making small talk. My contact introduced me to one of the fire captains (we both felt we’d met before, but couldn’t tell) who proceeded to suit me up and briefly train me in the art of how to stay alive and breathing inside a burning building.

First I tried on the boots, then the jacket, then took off the boots and jacket so I could pull the boot-tops up inside the pants and put both on in two smooth motions. This is why the protective gear is called “turnouts” — you keep them at the foot of your stationhouse bunk so that when you turn out to answer the alarm at 3 a.m., you can slide into the boots and pull the pants up to your waist, slipping the suspenders (yes, they’re red) over your shoulders. I donned the coat, slipping my thumbs through the loops in the ends of the sleeves which keep the sleeves from riding up and exposing bare arm-flesh to the flame’s tender kiss. Everything fit me as though it had been tailored. I told the firefighters that my wife wanted to know if I could borrow the turnouts for the evening, and they laughed heartily and knowingly.

Next, a white Nomex hood went over my head and bunched down around my neck. The breathing mask went on, held by netting and straps and surprisingly forming a tight seal despite my short beard. Then the Nomex hood was pulled up over my neck and the top of my head, slightly obscuring the edges of the faceplate which had already begun to fog slightly.

The fire captain explained the workings of the SCBA tank — how to turn it on, how to connect it to the mask, how to disconnect it without losing any of its 20-minute air supply. After a quick run-through, we left the bay and walked toward the Mobile Live Fire Trainer parked behind the station.

This was a huge blue semi trailer with a six-foot by eight-foot hut sitting on top, which I later learned was one of the simulator’s three rooms — the upper “bedroom,” connected by internal stairs to a “kitchen” and “hazmat storage area” (think “paintcan-filled garage”) below. Propane jets and peanut-oil burners provided the fire and smoke inside the non-flammable trailer. As explained by the man in charge of the simulator, the captain and I and one other firefighter were to be a team which would go inside the “house,” crawl past a burning wall to knock down the fire in the hazmat area, pull back, climb the burning stairs to quench the bedroom (after passing our hands under the “bed” to check for “victims”), then reverse course downstairs and douse the kitchen.

As narrated at the beginning of this piece, I didn’t do so well. But our team was one of several cruising through the simulator in various rotations, so I vowed to do better on the next session. (The captain and other firefighter, who had completed their rotation without me, graciously told me I wasn’t at all a wimp and asked me if I wanted to be nozzleman on our next attack. I told them I’d think about it.) Meanwhile, I had caught my breath, and walked around doing my reporter thing, talking to some people I knew and a few I didn’t. (I always enjoy that part, and sprinkled with the interviews were quite a few “Welcome back!”s from people I didn’t know I had missed when I was away.)

The next rotation was a slightly different scenario: We were to climb an external ladder to the bedroom, carefully enter it (“There’s a foot-and-a-half drop that’ll knock you on your ass if you’re not careful,” warned the trainer), knock down the flames against the far wall, then proceed down the burning stairs, make a hairpin right into the corridor leading to the garage, douse the garage, then double back into the kitchen and put out the fire there. The captain asked me again if I wanted to be the nozzleman, and I heard myself saying, “Sure.”

I climbed the ladder, connected my airtank to the face mask, and stood waiting while the other members of my team flaked out the hose on top of the trailer. Now that I had been through this already, and had learned of the simulator’s fool-proof safety features, I was a bit more prepared. I realized that my earlier breathing problems weren’t caused by panic so much as ignorance — I had never used an airtank or been in a situation where I had to regulate my breathing, so I took steady, deep breaths as we prepared to go inside.

I pushed open the door to the burning bedroom, stepped over the edge and crouched low on the deck, clutching the hose and nozzle with my right arm and hand while my left grasped the nozzle-release lever. Take that, I thought as I opened the hose.

The water blasted into the base of the flame-wall on the other side of the room. “Sweep it!” came the muffled yell from the fire captain behind me. I slowly swept the nozzle from side to side, quickly dousing the fire.

Wow, I thought. That’s pretty cool.

“Down the stairs!” shouted the captain over the omnipresent din.

I crawled forward and paused at the brink, seeing flames licking a foot or two below me. “Just go ahead!” he shouted, barely audible.

I slowly descended the stairs, dropped to hands and knees, and, waved on by the safety officer sitting in the corner, turned right 180 degrees and dragged the hose with me.

This time I paid attention to my breathing, which while still labored was a lot less difficult. Approaching the flaming garage like Charles Atlas’ reborn 98-pound weakling returning to face the beachfront bully, I braced against the wall to my left and opened the nozzle.

“Closer!” shout-whispered the captain behind me.

I scooted a bit closer, directing the water jet toward what I thought was the base of the flames slightly above the garage floor. But I couldn’t see through the thick smoke! I could see my hands holding the hose, and I could bloody well see the fire, but the water jet might as well have been invisible. I swept it back and forth anyway, but nothing happened.

The captain’s hands reached around me, pulling the nozzle sharply upward. I saw the flames billow back against the aqueous intrusion, nodded, and swept with gusto. The flames flickered, hung on for about 20 seconds, then went out. Gotcha, I thought, shutting off the nozzle.

Then a fresh sheet of fire broke out about three feet above the first, washing the ceiling in lambent scarlet. I swore, then attacked it in calm fury.

When that enemy had been routed, I swore again when the lower bank re-ignited. But I grimly set to the task a third time, wondering if this was one of the unpredictable conditions faced by firefighters when they’re doing this for real.

Slowly, I became aware of a burning sensation at two points on my left cheek. With alarm, I realized it was the metal buckles on my face-mask straps beginning to heat up. If they don’t get any hotter, I’ll be okay, I thought. Uncomfortable, but okay. I continued spraying the burning garage wall.

They began to get really hot. Painfully so.

DAMN IT! I screamed to myself. Here we go again. I continued sweeping the garage wall, and when it was finally out, I motioned to the captain. “My face is burning,” I shouted calmly, tapping my face. “I think I need to leave.”

He nodded, then shouted “Back out and up the stairs!”

I didn’t know he meant that literally. The flames extinguished, I dropped the hose (breaking rule #1, as I learned later) and turned my back on the now-smoking garage (breaking rule #2), headed down the corridor, climbed the stairs and went through the bedroom to the sunny Sunday morning outside.

Postscript: As I told a couple of longtime fire service contacts before I left the VOM station, “I’ve been covering the fire beat for three years, but I don’t think I really understood it until today. It’s one thing to know this stuff from the outside — it’s quite another to be engulfed by it. And even though I’ve pretty much understood why you guys do this, I didn’t understand how. Thanks for shooting my personal learning curve through the roof!”

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Meeting Himself Coming the Other Way

2002.04.12
By

Sometimes, to take a step forward, it’s necessary to take a step back.

I’m sitting here having lunch at the desk I occupied for three years as a city, fire, religion and state developmental center reporter. The Sonoma Index-Tribune rehired me on March 26 as a city, fire and police reporter after my replacement resigned and they were stuck without a reporter. I accepted the position on the understanding that my schooling wouldn;t suffer, and that I wouldn;t be around to fix the news if it broke between sunset Friday and three stars on Saturday.

So much for the facts…

It feels REALLY WEIRD to be back here again. Good weird, though. I feel connected again. Important. Not ego important (“look at me everybody! I’m the big man in town”), but NEEDED. Alive. As though what I do matters.

Some of that may or may not be related to the male requirement for status which sets in around 40 years old, which I became on March 22. Mostly, I think it has to do with how my mind grinds itself into mush if I don;t have something to feed it.

Well, back to work. Time to type up the police report.

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Rumpled Colleagues In Truth

2001.03.25
By

from a pre-Blogger blog

Attending a dinner for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter, as a co-recipient of their annual James Madison Freedom of Information Award, I’m in the presence of real journalistic heroes: men and women quietly doing their jobs in order that their fellow-citizens can be better informed about their world. Some of those people, like the person who enabled us (by which I mean, my former employer and myself) to write the stories which lead our reception of the award, are bigger heroes: someone who risked a job (and security) in order to do the right thing — by blowing a badly-needed whistle.

As this is an online scrapbook, here’s my half of the acceptance speech (after my ex-boss introduced me by telling everyone that I had quit the news biz to attend rabbinical school):

“They say this job will drive you either to drink, or religion. I seem to have chosen the latter…
“When I was a kid, I was crazy about Don Quixote: knight-errant, defender of justice and the innocent, tilter at windmills which he thought were fierce giants.
“As a result, I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I never thought I’d do it while working as a reporter.
“But when we first broke our story, after years of anonymous — but unproven — allegations that all was not well at SDC, my wife sent a bouquet of flowers to my desk, with a note: ‘You knew they were giants all along.’
“In a different way, this award says the same thing. The quest continues. Thank you.”

The evening is inspiring. It’s enlightening. It makes me really, really miss the news business. But it doesn’t make me miss it enough.

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PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls...

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The Poet

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE loved beauty or women more until the day he called his mom and said “Guess what? I’m marrying a...

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Storyteller’s Knot

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

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You Can't Stop The Signal:
Celebrating the remaining days:hours:etc until Apophis II. Live it up, Earthlings.

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