If you’ve read my books, you may have noticed I include journalists in every one of them. There’s a reason for that. I worked as a radio journalist for a long time. It’s a job I enjoyed (most of the time.) Admittedly, I’ve never been a foreign correspondent or a Washington reporter, but my years carrying a reporter’s notebook and a microphone and a recorder around, then a smartphone with a mic attached, gives me enough insight to make my journalist characters believable. I also experienced what it’s like to be an anchor conveying the news to an audience so it’s concise and understandable, and sometimes turning on a dime, so to speak, to get the latest news on the air as quickly as possible.
In The Shade Ring Trilogy, there are a number of scenes with reporters and news anchors that help move the story along, whether you’re talking about Neave’s father, mounting protests or other critical plot points. In The Time Telephone, Megan’s mother is a foreign correspondent who lives for her job. In VisionSight: a Novel, Jenna dates a TV reporter who’s on the way up. In A Daffodil for Angie, the main character, herself, is an aspiring journalist. There are also a couple of newspaper editors Angie interacts with, and one of the other students writes for a small paper. And in my forthcoming novel, the main character is a producer for a TV investigative news team.
Besides being a useful storytelling device for authors, journalists are a vital component of a free, democratic society. Even, and sometimes especially, local journalists who work long hours, oftentimes for modest salaries, to try to keep local politicians and others honest. The news media has come under attack recently, but I, for one, am thankful we have dedicated reporters digging up dirt on self-serving politicians, unethical business people, waste in government, pollution of the environment and a long list of critical issues. Without “freedom of the press,” we’d be like Russia or China.
That picture, by the way, is yours truly during my first radio news job, when they let me drive the news car home. But that was the only time during my career I ever had that perk.
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