This is the tenth (and final) post in a series of blogs offering video snippets from Stephen Hess’ numerous interviews with the prominent journalists featured in Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978-2012.
The closing of the Washington bureau of the Cox Newspapers in 2009 was one of the sad events in the period covered by the book. The bureau chiefs had been Andrew Glass (1977-1997) and then Andrew Alexander. The two veteran journalists were first interviewed in 1978, and returned in 2008 to answer questions from George Washington University students. “Would you guys have any advice for maybe young journalists entering the field?”
Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters is Hess’ latest book, in which he set out to find the 450 Washington reporters he first surveyed in 1978. He tracks them in France, England, Italy, Australia, and 19 U.S. states in addition to the Washington area, locating 90 percent and interviews 283 of them, producing the first comprehensive study of career patterns in American journalism.
These are wise responses. There always will be journalism and there always will be journalists. Moreover, as I know they would agree, and was so often repeated by the journalists interviewed for this book, doing journalism is fun! In how many jobs do workers talk about having fun? Fun is what you do after work.
“It’s been a blast,” concluded Judlyne Lilly. “Such a blast.”
For James Canan, “If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I hope I come back in my present form. I mean professionally, not necessarily physically! I’d do it all over again. I just love journalism….So there you are.”
Edward Behr was 87 years old when we asked him if he was satisfied with his career. “Yes, I am. Yes. I didn’t get to be rich or famous, but other than that it was OK.”