This and That
 Humor Help: Chattanooga Choo-Choo jokes.

 Waste your mind with journalism

I was on a subway train with a fellow MIT student during my junior or senior year. I can’t remember for certain who it was. If it was you, let me know what you think of my answer after a half century.

I told them I had decided not to be an electrical engineer―a decision that was really made for me when I flunked second-term Calculus twice. Instead, I said, I loved my work at The Tech so much I wanted to be a journalist.

“How can you waste a fine mind like yours on something so trivial as journalism,” they asked me.

“It’s not trivial,” I responded. I had never considered the question but the answer tumbled out of me. “Every day, journalists do things that are every bit as challenging as engineering. We witness disordered reality. We must impose order on it. Separate the wheat from the chaff.

“Then we write it down in an inverted pyramid, a form with very strict rules requiring you to place the most important information (who, what, when, where, why) at the top, the least important at the bottom.

“It hneeds to be brief, precise, grammatical and readable. It’s not supposed to ever be the same twice. And it has to be done under deadline pressure worse than any engineering job ever. I find it every bit as intellectually challenging as anything I’ve seen or read at MIT.”


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