That good ole journalistic journalism

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I remember a time, back in the early days of this newspaper, back even before it was the News & Review, when we were the Nevada Weekly, when all my time was spent in the company of journalists. I wish you could have been around in those days (every once in a while, I hear from someone who was). We routinely worked 80-100 hour weeks, and we made very little money. I was (mostly) wrapping up journalism school in those days. And it seemed like if the bunch of us weren’t at that office on West First Street, we were in a bar. It was our job to drink and smoke and play pool and turn out the best newspaper we could—given things like a shortage of resources and lack of newspaper-publishing experience.

There are some things I don’t miss about those days, the abysmal pay and lip-numbing hangovers among them. But I do miss the camaraderie, sitting in the basement at the old Blue Lamp, Larry Henry holding forth about “journalistic journalism” and good writing and the players and conflicts that make this such a great profession. All we ever talked was journalism—it used to drive Kathleen crazy.

As I try to figure out what I possibly could have been thinking when I agreed to teach a magazine-writing class up at the university, I think it must be related to this. Can I, through reexamining things I’ve come to take for granted over the last 13 years, inspire some of these students to want to get their asses dragged behind the engine in the way mine has been?

And now, when I’m with a bunch of teachers and journalists, am I going to want to talk about teaching or about the time when Time magazine paid me to go to Las Vegas strip bars to get some quotes from naked chicks?

I guess you’ll read it here first.