The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


July 9, 2013

The most fun you can have with your clothes on

---- — Working in a newsroom, some say, is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I have had an inordinate amount of fun working in The Herald’s over the years.

A lot of that – most of that – has been due to the people I’ve worked with. Smart, dedicated, irreverent, brave, maddening and caring people who are bent in a strange, beautiful and terrible way – either before they walked into the newsroom or after daily exposure to it.

The amazing thing about newspaper people is that they do it at all. When a good day’s work depends on terrible and unusual things happening to other people, you develop some weird calluses. Everybody says they want to see good news in the paper, but the sad, awful and grotesque are the stuff of stories we can’t forget.

Newspaper people stand apart. It’s a strange thing, being deeply involved in a community’s life and yet separated from it, unable, in most cases, to cheer or boo.

Objectivity isn’t an easy thing to maintain in the face of horror and hypocrisy, folly and fraud, and all of the other things that outrage readers. And it seems to be a dying virtue in our media, a reflection of a culture that’s fraying by the day, breaking into so many self-contained bubbles as more and more people reject the idea that we have a common purpose and a common destiny.

Daily newspapers like The Herald - unbiased and beholden to no interest but the readers - embrace that idea by their very existence.

There’s a paper every day because there’s always something going on that you should know about. Be it the doings of your friends and neighbors, the politicians and public officials that work for you, or the acts of God and tragedies, large and small, that we sometimes experience ourselves but more often hear about and think: “Thank goodness it wasn’t me.”

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