I'll let you in on a secret. I really wanted to be a newspaper reporter. My stepfather worked at The State newspaper in Columbia, SC (he was foreman of the engraving department... back when they engraved). I was editor-in-chief of the my high school paper for two years. I was a Journalism major, and spent a brief stint on the college newspaper.
But a funny thing happened in class... I realized that everybody around me was an asshole of the first order. See, I wanted to report the news. As Steve Salerno so eloquently points out, the business of reporting has very little to do with reporting actual news. My asshole classmates were much better suited to the business of reporting. They didn't want to report the news; they wanted to change the world. No fooling. That was the phrase bandied about.
Lou Grant was on television at the time. Everybody wanted to be Joe Rossi (or Billie Newman). Everybody wanted to inject himself into the story. I wanted to report the truth. And the truth is, most of the time things are pretty OK. Of course, that wouldn't dissuade a true reporter from reporting a crisis anyway. But that's Steve's story and I'll let him tell it.
My story is this: having realized that my prospective colleagues were assholes, I decided to quit and join the military while I thought about what Plan B might be. But that's a whole other post that I won't relate here.
Having borrowed Steve's headline, I'm going to close by borrowing some of his stats, too. Think about this the next time you watch the Disease of the Week, the Tragic Disaster, the Head-Shaking News:
- The current employment rate is 95.3 percent.
- Out of 300 million Americans, roughly 299.999954 million were not murdered today.
- Day after day, some 35,000 commercial flights traverse our skies without incident.
- The vast majority of college students who got drunk last weekend did not rape anyone, or kill themselves or anyone else in a DUI or hazing incident. On Monday, they got up and went to class, bleary-eyed but otherwise okay.