Right. I go to school.

Friday, April 20, 2007
From a recent paper on the role of the author in journalism and Foucault:

"I found Foucault’s description of the shedding of the desire for immortality eerily similar to editor’s descriptions of putting out a newspaper. Though it took time for literary to change so that “the work, which once had the duty of providing immortality, now posses the right to kill, to be it’s author’s murderer, as in the cases of Flaubert, Proust and Kafka"(Foucault, "What is an Author"), the maker of a newspaper has long been aware of the fact that not only is the work exhausting, but also that it never had the “duty of providing immortality.”

In his book, The One That Got Away, Howell Raines, a former executive editor of The New York Times wrote, “every newsroom is a ship of fools. Some are mad, some are funny, some brilliant, some priapic, a few tragic and, of course, a good many drunk or stoned. The best of them haunted by the knowledge that newspapers don’t create anything that lasts” (Raines, emphasis mine.). Bill Keller, the current executive editor of The Times acknowledged that “a daily newspaper affords you the chance to start all over the next day, (Keller)” and Ben Hecht, the playwright and screenwriter who started off writing for the Chicago Daily News covering, among other things, murders, described the newspaper as “the tyrannical journal that underpaid and overworked us, and for which, after a round of cursing, we were ready to die.”

The journalist author never wanted immortality; he sees his work as ephemeral, as a new blank slate each day. And, many of the journalists I have interacted with—both students and professionals—feed themselves dinner from the newsroom vending machine, smoke cigarettes, drink large amounts of alcohol, and fight off a constant exhaustion brought on by a daily news cycle. For a long time, daily newspapers have been well on their way to killing off their authors."

I love this profession.

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Written Pyramids is a blog written by a journalist living and working in Washington D.C.

I have left my real name off of the blog so as not to imply that the blog is somehow linked with the journalism I get paid to do. (Still, I never write about my beat on this blog, and rarely express opinions about the day's news regardless of its relationship to my beat).

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Books pyramid image originally from the British website, Explore Writing.