Over the course of my one year as a mid-level editor at my school paper, I spent a lot of time talking about how to solve problems. Once, the 14 news editors expended over 5,000 words in e-mails about deadlines. I spent hours in meetings and talking on the phone about reporters. About editing. About making the paper more hospitable. More professional. Less professional. Fewer corrections. Less pressure. You name it. And a lot of the problems that we talked about for hours still exist, two years later.

But among all those conversations that were in retrospect not all that important, there was one that stands out. It was a two-hour one-on-one meeting with my editor in which we talked about gender. About glass ceilings. About the way we cover or don't cover sexual assault. About why my experience walking down the street was different than his. The conversation was spurred by a nasty argument, but the conversation was civil, and one of the most honest conversations I've ever had with anyone.

The tenor of the newsroom changed a little after that conversation. Both I and my editor became more thoughtful journalists and editors after that conversation. What better place than a newsroom to throw around words that really matter. That's what I thought about when I read Kristol's column about a dialogue on race. Have people been talking about race for decades, if not centuries? Yes. Are there still problems? Yes. Is it possible that a repast from rhetoric, especially inflammatory rhetoric would be helpful? Yes. Is it likely that racial problems will be solved in a campaign speech? No.

But does that mean we should stop talking? Stop having conversations? Stop being honest? That words will always fall flat? Absolutely not.

Relatedly: Slate ponders what a speech on gender would sound like, and Katie Couric marvels at the number of women on the staff of her college paper.

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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.