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There are two Americas - separate, unequal, and no longer even acknowledging each other except on the barest cultural terms. In the one nation, new millionaires are minted every day. In the other, human beings no longer necessary to our economy, to our society, are being devalued and destroyed.
Albert Camus, a great humanist and existentialist voice, pointed out that to commit to a just cause with no hope of success is absurd. But then, he also noted that not committing to a just cause is equally absurd. But only one choice offers the possibility for dignity. And dignity matters. Dignity matters.
The why is what makes journalism an adult game. The why is what makes policy coherent and useful. The why is what transforms bureaucrats and foot soldiers and political leaders into viable instruments of rational and affirmative change. The why is everything and without it, the very suggestion of human progress becomes a cosmic joke.
There came this point where I sat down with all my notebooks and I had to start to write, when I thought: this whole notion of writing for the person who understands nothing, the average reader... He has to die! I can't have him in my head. And so the person I started writing for was the homicide detective.
A little anger is a good thing if it isn't on your own behalf, if it's for others deserving of your anger, your empathy.
To be told you've won a MacArthur fellowship is very flattering and gratifying personally.
What writer wants to make compromises with story? Story is the only reason you're in it.
While I think storytelling is a meaningful way to spend your life... it does feel a little bit secondary or off-point.
One of the sad things about contemporary journalism is that it actually matters very little. The world now is almost inured to the power of journalism. The best journalism would manage to outrage people. And people are less and less inclined to outrage.
It seems that in Baltimore, one of the most violent cities in America, jurors are far more reluctant to convict criminal defendants than in the suburban enclaves that ring the city.
The trick to making a story matter is that every now and then, somebody you care about has to go. If it's somebody that you don't care about, then it doesn't really have - the stakes aren't there. But if you do that every now and then, then the story matters to people. And there are actual stakes involved, emotional stakes.
It's been said that no man is a hero to a newspaperman, and I spent too many years as an ink-stained wretch.
On a practical level I'm a TV producer and storyteller who's gone about as long as you can go without achieving a mass audience.
There are a couple of ideas for features that I would love to do. They happen to be comedies.
I had a great editor, Rebecca Corbett, from the time I was a city reporter right through to the years I worked on the 'Sun's' enterprise reporting team.
I would be lying if I said the journalism doesn't reflect my own choices as a reporter and a writer: what to say, what to emphasize, how to say it, what is true or untrue.
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Henry David Thoreau
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