• Happy Anniversary, Reporter on the Road blog
• No, I wasn’t present at the birth of television. The photo above just makes it seem so.
• What’s next?
A year ago this week I began this blog. This is the 70th post. A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to everyone who has read some of them; an astonished “you’re kidding!” goes out to anyone who has read them all.
What have we learned? Stay tuned, as it’s said in broadcast journalism.
First, I want to look at a couple of early signs that suggest I might have been destined to have had a career worth writing about. (If they were harbingers, they went right over my head; I had no clue what I wanted to do until midway through my college years.) Yet, here I was in the 1950s, looking at a TV camera:
(You see how my dad has lifted me off the ground? I absolutely hated that. I was, what – maybe 6 or 7 years old? I was too damn grown up to be held like that! Put me down! The photographer tried to explain to me that if I stood, like the adults, I wouldn’t be in the shot. I think my father just said, “Stop it,” and picked me up. I was not happy.)
A few years later, in sixth grade, I volunteered to join a group of students that was put together by some rather creative teacher or administrator. We were to run the school-wide intercom like a radio station, as the caption on this newspaper picture explains:
I was the “engineer” because, I guess, I could push an on-off button like nobody’s business. I wasn’t put in charge of “news” like Ardis Cameron, or “sports” like Tim Mulvaney. And so, it would be years until I found my calling. (These clippings are from either The Paterson Evening News, or The Passaic Herald News, which I read every day after school . . which probably should have been another portent.)
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “From the moment Dad first picked me up to look at a TV camera I knew I wanted to be in news and broadcasting!” Yeah . . that’s somebody else’s memoir.
So what have we learned from one year of blogging about myself?
> I like blogging about myself. It’s apparently a favorite topic.
> I wrote 45,577 words
> The average length of a post was 828 words.
> I’m a pack rat. Digging up and dusting off boxes full of photos, tape cassettes and clippings was a year-long project.
> Digitizing all this stuff and tossing out the originals made more room in my apartment.
> As I say on the front page of the ROTR blog, remembering – or trying to remember – all the assignments I was handed gave new meaning to having been a “general assignment” reporter. The extraordinarily wide range of things I covered was something I never really thought about much while I was doing it.
I still have more stories, anecdotes, audio and video clips, and they’ll continue to be posted. Maybe when I’ve run out of work stories, I’ll venture further back and talk about my upbringing. “Son, we need to have a little talk about your upbringing” (sounds vaguely familiar . . .)
It’s occurred to me that since the day the blog launched last October the posts have been added randomly, and the stories told in a non-chronological order. If, for some reason, you want to go back to the start of my career and see how it unfolded sequentially, the Time Line is where to start. There are links there to every post.
If I can figure out just how to do it, I might rearrange the page on the menu that reads, “BLOG.” The post at the top is always the latest one; the others follow in the order posted. I may try to arrange them, top to bottom, from earliest to most recent. That way, if you wanted to follow the narrative of my reporting years as if you were reading a book, you could.
A book? I have no plans to turn this into a book. If I did, would you buy it? Would anybody? I want to say, “We’ll see what happens…” but that sounds too much like a certain elected official who is a major reason why I am glad to be mostly retired from journalism.