Monday, June 16, 2008

Are Journalists Mutants?


In the long line of evolution from the Greek forefathers of journalism, Herodotus, Pheidippides, Thucydides, journalists have developed genetic modifications allowing them to write and process information faster.

After several lectures enumerating what it takes to be a journalist, certain traits were repeated. One of the first lectures of the week by former foreign correspondent and current journalism professor Chris Harper emphasized the importance of a resilient liver. In his travels he often had to build confidence with his sources by spending times in the local saloons (not sure if Rocky Raccoon was also present). Story after story stresses the dirt that was uncovered at the local bar.

Another modification is the over-sized bladder. This comes from the Murdoch book I referenced earlier, where the author cites another journalist who covered a meeting with Murdoch. Chenoweth explains that the secret to getting the story is largely influenced by being able to sit for long periods of time without bathroom breaks.

Carolyn Lochead, D.C. Bureau Chief for the San Fransisco Chronicle, professed the benefits of sharp elbows and everyone talked about thick skin and coffee as fuel.

A photographic memory and ability to write concisely have all become part of the journalist's ability to get the story no matter how sloppy their notes or how badly they need a bathroom break.

When I was speaking with someone about my theory, she had mentioned one of the major weaknesses of this "mutant race." Near-sightedness. Journalists without their glasses or contacts are lost. It is their kryptonite.

2 comments:

K-Rock said...

In addition, Harper also commented about a phenomenon he discovered while in the Middle East. It is called "fighting weather." Many a Middle Eastern conflict has begun in June, perhaps because of the heat. I noticed a similar phenomenon while living across the street from the projects in Brooklyn. Whereas in many areas spring is the season for love, in Brooklyn spring is the season warm enough to go outside and begin shooting each other. Now nothing says "springtime" to me more than a couple of rounds being fired and the chirping of busy ambulances.

Andrew aka Innocence said...

Oh summer...spring is the season of indecent exposure, whereas summer is the season of accidental killings.

Didn't you go shoot a round with your homeskillets when the weather turned warm?