I need a newsroom.
I said that twice during my interview Monday.
That's not meant out of narcissism, hubris or pride. I just need to be back in a newsroom where I can bring helpful information to the community.
When COVID first hit, I remember gathering my colleagues saying that our challenge would be to offer ways to navigate the greatest pandemic in 100 years. We brainstormed ways to let people know where they could get food, personal protection equipment, testing. We offered stories of survival and death. We also offered stories of diversion in the sports department because people needed something besides all COVID, all the time.
I have been doing this for 30 years now and one of the first things I understand is there will always be people who will hate you. Often, they come from mutually opposing groups. I once served as a newspaper liaison to Lansing, Michigan, Muslims and the Lansing Jewish community. Both of them read the same newspaper and both of them thought we biased against them in favor of the other. No manner of me telling them it couldn't be both worked.
I need a newsroom in the same way Patton needed to be in the fight -- not for glorification but because we each knew what we do.
Initially I went into journalism because Ernest Hemingway said his best training as a writer was working as a reporter for the Kansas City. He said he had to write 5,000 words a day no matter how hungover he was.
Writers write, right?
It turned out my novels were horrible but my journalism was pretty good and it allowed me to get better every day. That's the beauty of the daily newspaper. When you stumble and fall, you have to get up and brush yourself off and do it again the next day.
And in the newsiest of years, it's been difficult to sit on the sidelines. Difficult is a nice word. It's really been the worst part of the year.
I just need a newsroom.