Sunday, March 04, 2007

News: The View from 83

The odometer in my head clicked up a notch today to 83. If you count blogging, I’ve been in journalism 65 years.

Time moved slowly when I was young, and our picture of the world came from the frozen type of newspapers and grainy images of newsreels at the movie house.

Now we are drowning in sights and sounds. I get instant news from TV and the Internet, and I blog back my reactions to people everywhere.

Back then, we thought we understood everything, but there was so much we didn’t know. Now we know everything, but there is much we don’t understand.

My working life as a reporter, editor and publisher can be measured not in coffee spoons but the differences in the ways we connect to the world beyond our own senses.

As a newspaper copy boy, I groped through the smoke of a four-alarm fire, clutching a photographer’s plates so readers could see it at breakfast the next morning.

From mid-century, we experienced events not through our minds but with our eyes and ears--and in our nervous systems. We were all in Dallas that day in 1963. We took that first step on the moon with Neil Armstrong. We felt the pain of Vietnam in the pit of our stomachs every night on the network news.

The job of journalists was the same, only more so. As the flood of words and pictures swelled, it was important not just to report news but try to make sense of it. More than ever, it still is.

I read the New York Times and other news sites these days on a computer screen while wearing a bathrobe, but with information being stuffed into me from all sides, I am still starved for understanding.

Breaking news is now mostly the work of young people on camera and online. Their elders may dig out unseen meaning behind it and create some kind of context. Geezers like me try to blog connections to the past that could hold clues to the future.

The world we live in may seem depressing some days, but the view from 83 is not bad. Bring on the birthday cake.


keith said...

Happy Birthday!!

Christina said...

Happy Birthday. May you blog for many more.

Watch 'n Wait said...

I so value and enjoy your posts. Thank you for them, and may you continue for another 83 years! :))