In tribute to Paul Harvey and all the rest: God made a journalist

And on the Eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “They’re having problems. I need a watchdog.” So God made a journalist.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, plan the day knowing plans will change, convince a reluctant source to tell the truth, eat lunch at the desk or on the run or not at all, go to city hall for a council meeting, and stay past midnight to report on the Legislature.” So God made a journalist.

“I need somebody strong enough to wrestle with politicians who are hiding something free people need to know, and tender enough to race to the smoking crater before a bombed-out building to cover rescuers at work, and wipe away tears before telling the story to my people.” So God made a journalist.

“I need somebody willing to stay up all night after gettings doors slammed in his face and phones slammed in her ear, searching through documents someone tried to hide, to wait until it’s right and ready to post or publish or broadcast, then go home hungry in the gloomy dark, hoping the next day will affirm the truth.” So God made a journalist. 

“I need someone who cares for the homeless and the tortured, who respects people of commerce and workers who labor in the sun on rooftoops or in the fields, who can harness truth from confusion and scraps of information. And who, having worked a 40-hour week by noon on Tuesday, with weary eyes and a painful back, works another 40 by Saturday.” So God made a journalist.

“I need somebody fierce to follow the story, gentle to a fearful whistleblower, who cares about the story of a handicapped child raised in poverty by his grandmother or the tribulations of an honest person trapped in economic collapse, one willing to fleece the goods from a liar, replenish the spirit of weary citizens, dig deep and straight and not cut corners, and who will walk through rain and mud to a burning home to honor the loss and the pain.” So God made a journalist.

“Someone to separate news from fluff, the wheat from the chaffe, clear away debris to find nuggets of context, who is gentle with children and the vulnerable, determined in the face of liars and obfuscators, passionate for those unjustly imprisoned and the victims crying out for justice.” So God made a journalist. 

“Somebody who can bind family and friends in a circle of trust and truth, verify sentiment, test the powerful, and finish that two weeks of work in one, then still help a colleague overwhelmed with problems to get the story right, and on deadline.” So God made a journalist.

“Someone who will honor my precepts and not bear false witness, who is in love with his country, his city and his neighors, in love with his work and with life, whose sacrifice is not a ram or a goat but life and money and time and energy and ego, who can grit his teeth, laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling and tearful eyes when his daughter says one day she wants to spend her life ‘doing what Daddy does.’ ” So God made a journalist.

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