Before I went to graduate school, I spent some three years working for a series of daily newspapers. I was only 22 years old when I started, and I loved the work. Being a newspaper reporter gave me a licence to pick up the phone and ask anyone any question that interested me, something I might otherwise hesitate to do. A colleague commented that journalism was an ideal occupation for shy, curious people.
In those three years, I worked a number of beats: business and labour in Marshalltown, Iowa; education in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and in York, Pennsylvania -– at the late and lamented The Gazette and Daily, reputedly the only left-wing daily in the United States –- city hall and the courthouse.
(The Gazette was well known to journalists across the United States as a pioneer in investigative journalism, a craft that was later immortalized by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffmann in All the President’s Men. When I was there, we didn’t go after the President, but we gave York City Hall, the York Police, and the Pennsylvania Railroad, with its unguarded crossings, a lot of grief. And woe betide the police if someone was charged with resisting arrest, but not charged with anything else.) Continue reading