Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How to become a journalist

Chapter I. How to Become a Journalist
When I was five years old I fell head downward into an empty cistern and was not found until six hours later, at which time I was quietly eating dirt. The year after that I fell out of a neighbor's barn loft. These experiences constitute an adequate preparation for a career in journalism -- the equivalent of four years in college.

"Low Man on a Totem Pole," H. Allen Smith (b. 1907, best known as the author of "Rhubarb," a novel about a cat that owned a baseball team). Some of his assertions about his training and early career have been overtaken by events -- I mean, if you go to journalism school today, we'll teach you how to calculate a margin of sampling error at any confidence level you want -- but there's some entertaining reading about the Good Old Days to be had here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A former colleague (yes, a copy editor) said she believes that all copy editors suffered head injuries in their youth that prompted their career choice. She may have a point. At the time of her head injury, she was studying engineering at Clemson. An informal poll also seemed to support the hypothesis! (I got whacked in the head by a cultivator when I was 5.)

Holly K.

4:36 PM, October 03, 2007  
Blogger fev said...

Way back on one of those early Meet The Parents trips, my mom told doc-to-be that she'd dropped me (in baby form) on my hed once when she went downtown (DC) to meet dad at Union Station.

Mom said there didn't seem to be any damage, so she picked offspring up and went on with business. Nonetheless, doc-to-be thought it explained rather a lot.

10:10 AM, October 04, 2007  
Blogger Strayhorn said...

I was hit over the head so many times in my yoof that my grandmother often called me "Bumpy."

Today I complimented my secretary for correctly spelling "canceled" in an internal email. She said: "Do you edit EVERY THING you read?"

But of course!


10:11 AM, October 04, 2007  
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