Tag Archives: writer

The John Grisham Novel and My Journalistic Life- II

Those striking similarities between Willie Traynor, the protagonist of the John Grisham novel The Last Juror and myself that I had described in detail in one of my earlier blogs, ended just there. Grisham is a master at telling stories and, well, lecturing on how a newspaper should function. I could not disagree with Grisham’s wisdom, and what Willie does at the Ford County Times, a fictional weekly paper of which he is the owner, publisher, editor and reporter. Here is why.

The ailing newspaper finds itself on the verge of bankruptcy. With the help of his generous grandmother, 24-year-old Willie takes over the management of the paper and does some wonderful reporting that the paper was aspiring to print. A gruesome murder certainly helps him. But, then, he didn’t confines himself on that event. He covers on varieties of subjects that either was neglected by the former editor/publisher or was too taboo in the white-dominated American society of 1970s- Clanton, Mississippi to be precise. Continue reading

The John Grisham Novel and My Journalistic Life-I

I studied journalism with a hangover. In the early days at Syracuse, I aspired to be an investigative reporter with the New York Times or the Washington Post. I wanted to save the world by uncovering corruption and environmental abuse and government waste and the injustice suffered by the weak and oppressed. Pulitzers were waiting for me. After a year or so of such lofty dreams, I saw a movie about a foreign correspondent who dashed around the world looking for wars, seducing beautiful women, and somehow finding the time to write award-winning stories. He spoke eight languages, wore a beard, combat boots, starched khakis that never wrinkled. So I decided I would become such a journalist.

I grew a beard, bought some boots and khakis, tried to learn German, tried to score with prettier girls. During my junior year, when my grades began their steady decline to the bottom of the class, I became captivated by the idea of working for a small-town newspaper. I cannot explain this attraction….

I do not eat breakfast, and I’m usually not awake during the hours in which it is served. I don’t mind working until midnight, but I prefer to sleep until the sun is overhead and in full view. As I quickly realized, one of the advantages of owning a small weekly was that I could work late and sleep late. The stories could be written anytime, as long as the deadlines were met.

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