A valedictory hymn to the daily newspaper, composed by a lifelong journalist who began his career cranking carbon paper into newsroom typewriters and now blogs from his laptop.
CNN contributor Greene, who has written for decades on American culture and politics (When We Get to Surf City: A Journey Through America in Pursuit of Rock and Roll, Friendship, and Dreams, 2008, etc.)—launched his career in the 1960s as a teen copyboy for the now-defunct Columbus Citizen-Journal. The author begins his account in the fall of 2008 aboard a CNN presidential-campaign bus rolling through Columbus and passing the building where his career had begun. Nostalgia grips him and does not let go for the duration of the book. Though never mawkish, the text follows the emotional coming-of-age story of a misfit who found a roomful of other misfits at the Citizen-Journal. Greene describes his various duties at the paper—summer jobs as copyboy, sportswriter and reporter—while he was in high school and college. He recalls the ecstasy of seeing his words in print for the first time—and, later, his first byline and his first page-one story. He cannot explain some of his early impulses—stepping out on the golf course to walk alongside Arnold Palmer during a tournament (Arnie chatted amiably, gave him a good story), writing and submitting copy without authorization—but it’s his newshound instincts that he is trying to comprehend. Greene most eloquently describes the atmosphere at the Citizen-Journal—the sounds of clacking typewriters and clattering Linotype machines, the clutter and the coffee—and the colorful personalities of his colleagues. He writes of celebrities who drifted through Columbus—Ozzie and Harriet, Nelson Rockefeller—and muses about the incomprehensibility that anything would ever change.
A fervent, entertaining journey back to a time when print media still mattered.