One of the tools I use while writing my memoir, Coming Full Circle: Jim Crow to Journalism, is to go back and read reports, surveys, books and view videos where I was a participant or where I was featured.
This week I re-read “Copy: The first 50 years of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund,” by Rick Kenney, a look back over the first decades for an organization that attacked the need to systematically encourage and train young people for journalism careers. I was one of those young people whose life was touched by the Newspaper Fund and its programs.
I pulled out a box of my newspaper clips and magazine articles I have written, to refresh my memory of where I was and what I was thinking at certain times in my newspaper career. In fact, in reviewing these items, I had forgotten about half the columns and articles I have written, so this exercise was a good way to take my mind to a place that helped me fill in gaps in some of the chapters I’ve already written for my memoir. I also found evidence of several honors and awards that I had forgotten about.
Then I turned to C-Span, the cable channel that chronicles governmental and public affairs topics, mostly emerging from Washington, DC, a place where I worked in journalism for 21 years. I spent hours reviewing the very long shows in which I spoke about newsroom affairs and media diversity.
There were a few surprises. First, I looked very different. The younger me was a bit heavier, but looking at my smooth younger skin and the fast clip in my voice led me to think “what happened to that woman?” Second, the clip I’m attaching here, recorded 22 years ago, has me predicting changes in journalism and journalists. Fortunately, I was right on target with many of my predictions about how technology and the Internet would change our business, and also how many younger journalists would not tolerate the demanding tasks and the lifestyles of working nights, weekends and long hours, things that were being questioned more than two decades ago.
Enjoy the four-minute clip. See for yourself.