Today the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics had Joshua Margolin, a journalist from the Star Ledger, come in and talk to a group of us over a “brown bag lunch.” He has won a Pulitzer Prize and is one of the top political journalists in New Jersey. He’s a fiery character. That’s how you have to be in the business.
About half way through the lunch, I realized how much I don’t want to work at a newspaper.
“It’s all about the adrenaline rush,” he says as his Blackberry, face up on the table in front of him, vibrates and catches his attention. “Ah- I’m getting a million calls. We’re breaking a story as we speak.”
Don’t get me wrong- he seems like an intelligent and pleasant man. He’s a husband and a father and has a great sense of humor. He’s the most New Jersey[ish] New Jerseyan I’ve ever met. He is Mr. Jersey. Not a bad thing. Just very… fast. On edge. Slippery and crude. I just wanted to go up to him, walk him outside and say “Feel the air, Josh. Just feel it. Close your eyes for a moment. Throw your stupid Blackberry in the pond and just feel the air.”
He needs a vacation. Seriously. I feel like if I had his job, I would be worn out in a week. For some, that’s appealing- the constant pressure. I used to love that. I still do, to an extent, but more than anything I just think life is about slowing down. Maybe I’m just going through a phase. But I wonder- if I became a breaking-news journalist, then doesn’t that defeat the purpose of writing? When you’re reporting breaking-news, I feel like your writing has a different meaning. It’s to-the-point and abrupt. Simple. You get a new story every day. You are constantly moving; your brain is in an unbreakable cycle. Never resting.
I can’t imagine not getting to sit back, look up to the sky, ponder, and then write from my heart. Not being able to transport readers through their minds- igniting their senses through the written word. I want to take them places. I don’t want to tell them about the glory of the mountain- I want to show them, through my words, if that makes sense.
I’m pretty sure I’m in idealist in this sense. My friend’s mom always says she’s waiting for the world to break me in and make me bitter and incredulous, like the rest of them. Watch- in three years I’ll be eating my words. But I signed up to be a journalist knowing that there is a pretty good chance I’ll be living in a cardboard box after I graduate.
Anyways, I’m rambling now. Just some thoughts. =)