Monday, September 11, 2006

So close and yet so far away

At this moment, five years ago, I was swimming at the University of New Hampshire pool, the last day I went swimming until I took it up again in September 2005. I recall thinking I'd better get in a swim before descending into news world for a few months. I was right.

Sept. 11, broadly defined, continues to depress me in the where's-our-country-going sense, though there are bright spots. My melancholy is summed up in part by the war-cost meter at Land-o-Lulu. Of course, there are the non-monetary costs, too...

But from a professional standpoint, Sept. 11 and the days and weeks after remain the zenith of my journalism life. Many good things came before, and many after, but nothing compares to Sept. 11, a time of focus, teamwork and relentless effort.

We who inhabit the Fourth Estate aren't government, but there are similarities, especially in this realm. We, too, can point to mistakes made before and after the attacks, triumphs and abyssmal failures that run parallel to those of the government.

I suppose the saving grace - for me, anyway - is that I have cultivated loneliness. My version doesn't take me to far-off lands to gather my own firsthand reports, but it does help to keep a distance between my professional and personal lives, and for that I am thankful.

1 comment:

Holly said...

That cultivated loneliness piece is damned good! I didn't have time to read it all, but what I did read was awesome. I love this quote about today's journalism being "increasingly given to summarizing from above rather than reporting from below." Reminds me of students who would rather hear me give them the Authority answer rather than go out and dig up the answer for themselves.

I also have great appreciation for efforts to make journalism into great anthropology.

Travel writing, eh? I think the author's right about creating distance - one needs that to really see the whole landscape.

Thanks for the link!!