NEWSPRINT, PAPERBACKS, AND HARDBOUND VOLUMES

My entire life I’ve harbored a bias regarding quality in the world of writing. Even though I’ve long been a front-line journalist, I’ve believed the text in a hardbound, academic or commercially published book must somehow be superior to what’s presented in a newspaper.

For that matter, magazines were, in that measure, a degree above newspapers, but a step or two below either paperback or hardbound volumes.

In the past few years, though, that misconception has been shattered, in part because of conversations I have with one of America’s top literary voices and in part because of encounters with a host of other living authors of more mundane accomplishments.

Yes, we have every right to expect a work that requires a year or two to draft to be superior to reports written on the fly, but in some ways, that long work often turns out to be little more than a series of daily reports strung together. What turns up can be as formulaic as any pyramid-style news dispatch, and filled with more cliche and unchallenged bombast. Read carefully and you might notice a higher standard of editing in your daily paper.

What I now realize is that I had expected the books to be eternal monuments that would sit forever on public and private library shelves. I never expected them to be commodities with their own precariously short shelf life, with rare exceptions. Even public collections have only so much space and so much patience. Rarely do I find there a recommended piece I desire.

What this all comes down to is that reality that good writing is good writing, no matter the place it appears. That, in itself, is cause for celebration.

Now, for more on the newspaper dimension, there’s my Hometown News novel. Adding a further twist to this plot, though, is the fact it’s available only as an ebook.

Hometown News
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3 thoughts on “NEWSPRINT, PAPERBACKS, AND HARDBOUND VOLUMES

  1. Books have been a commodity now since the quality of what’s between their covers has declined drastically. Today more than ever, what constitutes “a book” doesn’t necessarily mean that the writing is superior to that found on the Op Ed page of any newspaper, where I’ve read some pretty glowing stuff!

  2. I cheer your recently opened mind on the way of words, sir.

    I’ve written in daily doses my whole life. I was a newspaperman from my college days in the 1970s until I was laid off by the big daily here in Syracuse in 2013, after 29 1/2 years of devoted reporting, editing and writing in that same newsroom. Now I’m an everyday blogger on WordPress and several other Syracuse media sites. I also write features and a column as a freelancer for a glossy magazine, that little step up in your old attitude.

    Every story I’ve ever written has been completed with the same care. Simply, I concentrate and focus as much as I can on the details and structure in the time allowed before it must be finished, their deadline or mine.

    The premise of your ebook intrigues me. I am going over to purchase it. Have a good day.

    • The Syracuse papers had some top-notch journalists. When I was with the newspaper syndicate, I always anticipated my appointments there — I usually came away with some fine ideas and inspiration.

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