From my advice to the CAJ mentorship program
I too am a journalist, writer, editor --- without a formal degree. It is heartening to hear from others that they learned on the job. Your notes on structure and research in particular, spoke to me. I am in my late 70's, still contributing as a yournalist, writer. Two of my family members have formal journalism MA's and are not working in the field at all. Gail B
I just noticed that every single point in this essay is numbered "1." Swing and a miss, Substack auto-formatting algorithm
Hi Paul, I admire and share your newsletter. You are an excellent role model for other journalists in terms of craft, talent and integrity. I’m going to quibble on a couple points only because you are so (deservedly) influential. Most of your examples of good writing or theoretical situations are male or male oriented. Examples of things you dislike or give qualified approval to tend to be female. Samantha Bee is on record as saying she’s not a journalist, so it seems a bit lopsided to use her as an example for journalists on how not to do it. You praise Susan Orlean, but your mystification about how she does it makes your approval feel qualified. (“She’s a witch!”😊) All this stuff is so nuanced, and seemingly trivial, but that’s why it can be so insidious. You have so much power as a respected senior journalist — I hope you understand that’s why I’m bothering to weigh in at all. Cheers!
Useful advice to all writers!