On My Mind: Someone, Somewhere cursing at Me

Photo of a manual typewriter’s typebars & keyboard/Credit Rafaela Biazi (@rafaelabiazi)

“Everyone has a story and needs someone to tell it,” my editor said from across his desk. I was in his office asking for advice about how to angle a particular story. “You’ll do fine.”

That became the tag line for my business card because it’s what journalism means to me. It’s storytelling, being the voice for someone who has a cause, a reason, a concern. It allows me entrance into others’ lives for a time, to listen and see and then to share what I heard and saw, to give them a wider audience.

The last line of every blog post here is “I’d like to know what you think.” I first heard it years ago, when veteran journalist and MSNBC host Ed Schultz would tell his audience, “Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.”

Schultz died last week at the age of 64, an untimely death, I read. I remember watching him years ago cover voters’ efforts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Not sure why this comes to mind as does Rachel Maddow’s coverage of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis that some say has not been resolved.

“If it pisses off one person, then one person read it,” another editor told me during my early reporting years. It encouraged me that somewhere out there, someone was cursing at me.

Another important piece of information came from my first editor at The Reporter Dispatch (now the Journal News) city desk. We used typewriters. Bob Thompson sat to my right and had longish hair, wore glasses and always wore a suit and a tie. “Remember, the name is The New York Times,” he told me. “All four words in the name start with capital letters.”

To this day, I cringe when editors at established and respected publications let stories with the New York Times slip past them and onto readers. How does that happen?

I am proud of my work and take this very seriously. “Off the record” IS “off the record,” and confidences told to me stay with me. There is no reason to create “fake news” or trash media when you don’t like the truth we’re reporting. One editor last year dropped a story she assigned when she felt running it would cost her an advertiser. To me, that meant she valued money more than truth.

I credit photographers, artists and other writers when I use their work. The above photo of a manual typewriter’s typebars and keyboard was taken by Rafaela Biazi (@rafaelabiazi).

When the leader of the free world trashes our free press it hurts everyone. If you don’t like the news that’s reported about you, Mr. President, then change what you are doing and saying.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

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