Magazine article American Journalism Review

Speed Melted the News, and Me

Magazine article American Journalism Review

Speed Melted the News, and Me

Article excerpt

My addiction is news, and I used to be proud of it. Or at least I thought it was stylish and smart. Not any more. I need help to beat this thing.

It seemed to make sense for a journalist. Our job was to be informed so we could help inform others. Thus the more news we could ingest the better. We admitted with a bit of self-deprecation--but actually puffed up inside--that we were news junkies. We even used the word "junkies."

The first rule of the evening paper's city editor: Before coming to work we should read the whole morning paper, or else. Second rule: We should be sure to read all of our own paper by the end of the day.

Later, catching the IRT for work at the AP in New York, I knew I'd do better work if I'd thoroughly read the Times, and maybe also the Herald Tribune and one or two others. If, kapow, I had to go interview the prime minister of Malaya, I'd know who that was, and where it was.

Now, of course, many journalists do read three or four papers a day--I mean papers that have news. And they watch TV news.

Tells you what some of the customers out there are seeing. Gives you some news in a nutshell. Some of it is very good, not usually as good as the journalists presenting it, but good, and admirably paced: alert, quick. (Of course, if that's all you know, you don't know much.)

Tonight I will hover over the cable news channels, awaiting the primary returns from ... Delaware. I will jump channels every minute or so, and back again, but I'll be sticking to the hot cable channels. …

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