Writing My Way Into A Job: Part I
February 20, 2022
Unsuccessful 1973 Washington Post Essay Spring 1973
Essay Question on Washington Post Internship Application
I was born 21 years ago in Portland, Oregon, and lived most of my life in one house, near the house my father lived in as a child. A top student in grade school, I was third in my class at Benson, the city-wide technical high school. I wrote several columns for the Benson paper about the Benson radio station, where I served as Chief of Staff. Broadcasting was more interesting to me at that point in time.
Refusing an admission offer from Cal Tech, I came to MIT in the fall of 1970 because it offered a wider variety of courses, especially in the humanities. My two freshman-year extra-curricular activities were a weekly campus newspaper and the MIT radio station. That took up too much time; after four years in radio during high school, I decided to devote all of my efforts to newspaper work at college.
ERGO, one of two weeklies on campus, was not much of a paper, so I moved to the older, established, twice-weekly newspaper, The Tech. It has become, in the years since, a consuming passion, and was at least partially responsible for breaking up my engagement with an MIT Co-ed who noted that more time was devoted to the paper than to her.
Exposure to the paper, and to Edwin Diamond, diverted me from becoming an electrical engineer by the end of the 72/73 school year. At that time, I decided to major in management, because it is the most flexible of MIT majors, in terms of degree requirements. Thus, I could continue to sample MIT's scientific and technical courses, learn about journalism and get a degree, all at the same time.
"Why go to MIT if you want to be a journalist?" The answer is simple: journalists have to know something. It is not enough just to know how to write. At MIT, the general requirements include physics, calculus, and chemistry, and even management majors have to take a respectable amount of science. Although science writing is not my first interest, science and technology are omnipresent in modern life. Some knowledge of them is important, no matter what field you report in.
In addition to the relevant jobs listed on this application, I have done research for articles that appeared in The Columbia Journalism Review, New York Magazine and The Readers' Digest. I am the Boston Globe stringer for MIT, and have written for Technology Review, the MIT alumni magazine, and NWJ, a Portland, Oregon journalism review.
My family, glossed over earlier, consisted of a father (milkman) and mother (high school teacher) married for 22 years and a younger brother (machinist), who provided me with a stable childhood atmosphere.
My hobbies are reading science fiction, playwriting, tennis and squash.