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Pick of the day: "In the destructive element immerse"


One of the goals of this blog, and one of the mandates of the team of writers Marc Fisher has put together, is to show just how much reporting matters. How the hard work of journalism—whether it’s scouring court files, attending hearings, or simply listening and observing—produces revelatory information that explains our world in a way mere commentary never could. Hopefully, this blog will give you some insight into the work we do. But the late Murray Kempton explains it much better than I could in this masterful and prophetic speech.

I was a student at Colby College when Kempton, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Post columnist, gave his lecture. Afterward, a professor asked him whom he imagined his audience to be when he wrote. Kempton stood at the podium with his hand on his chin, pondering the question for several moments. Finally, he said something to the effect of: “I imagine a kid taking the subway home from Manhattan to his parents’ apartment in the Bronx. He’s slumped over in his seat, exhausted, and sees a newspaper discarded on the floor of the train. It’s litter, has a footprint on it. But he picks it up and reads it to pass the time on his way home. That’s who I write for.”

By Christian Davenport  | December 7, 2009; 7:10 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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Next: Going first-person: On the road, finding my voice

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