Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What The?

Imagine you spent four or so years enrolled in a program to study journalism. You took classes that helped you sharpen your writing, and taught you some of the ins and outs of interviewing and how to get the information a news story needed to have. You learned how to make sure that you covered all of the bases in a story, not skipping details that you knew but your readers might not.

So you get out and eventually you wind up with a job at the Boston Globe. That's a top tier, old-line newspaper that often breaks stories with national implications. You're not in New York City, but you're in a place where Stuff Happens, and you are one of the people charged with making sure folks know about it.

Then you pitch a story about how counties in the path of this month's total eclipse of the sun voted mostly for Donald Trump for president.

What ought to happen is one of two things. Maybe you wake up and realize in sobriety's cold early light that just because something sounded good when you were drunk doesn't mean it would sound good in the real world, so you keep it to yourself and save a lot of embarrassment. Or you actually go through with it and you find all of the money and time you've invested in your journalism education and career doesn't keep the editor from laughing at you like you walked in front of the Queen with your fly down.

But this being 2017 and Donald Trump being the sum total of all evil in the eyes of many, you get permission to write and run the story. Of course, you quickly find out there's really no story so you have to pad like hell with non sequitirs and old news, but that doesn't matter because it gives you a chance to get in some swipes at the president.

And so you wind up with this, little knowing that at some point in the future when the Boston Globe is either dead or a supermarket shopper given away free at Roche Brothers, your story will be what someone writes on its tombstone.

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