by Kevin Allman
Courtesy of The Pitch (via Romenesko's MediaNews) comes this fun artifact: the 1965 manual Your Career in Journalism. From Amazon.com, we learn that Stein (real person, or a pseudonym for a ghostwriter, perhaps?) published nearly a dozen books about newspaper writing, all of which are probably more relevant than Your Career in Journalism.
Alan Scherstuhl, The Pitch's curator of "Studies in Crap," breaks it down thoughtfully, but there are a few priceless quotes:
The journalist enjoys good standing in his community. He is even likely to be held in awe.
If you are a college graduate in journalism, you may land a job before you even leave the campus.
The story that a reporter worried and sweated over will be read by thousands and perhaps millions of people who will be informed, enlightened or amused. ... He has prestige and influence that most persons can never hope to attain.
Scherstuhl points out a number of things Stein got right ("Inevitably, journalism is changing. Hacks, mediocrities and dabblers will fare poorly. Unless you have something to offer a newspaper besides eight hours a day of your time, you will soon find yourself on a treadmill -- assuming you get on a newspaper at all"). That's pretty true, except for the 8 hours a day part. But women won't be happy to see this:
Let's assume the Indian ambassador to the United States and his wife visit your city. Someone from your paper will interview him on such weighty matters as East-West relations, India's neutrality policy, and so forth. But, as a reporter from the women's section, you will talk to Mrs. Ambassador about the problems and pleasures of being a diplomat's wife, her role in Washington, her views about American women, etc.
Scherstuhl's whole article is worth a read. Enjoy, enterprising journalists.