I have never read People magazine or Entertainment Weekly, so I had no idea who Cable Neuhaus was until I came across him on The Huffington Post. But this piece by him is certainly worth quoting.
He was questioning the usefulness of journalism schools. ( "Journalism schools can’t hurt, but can they really help?" The Huffington Post, May 26) "As it happens, I’m a graduate of two reputable journalism programs," he wrote. "Neither hurt me. Neither taught me much either, I must say. The truth of the matter is that you certainly don’t need a degree in journalism in order to practice the craft with distinction. Many, maybe most, of the finest reporters I know received their degrees in the arts, law, biology, theology, and economics."
"This is — or should be — a calling," he wrote. “You go into journalism not the way you ‘go into hardware’ or go into ‘arbitrage’. You don’t enter the field for money or glory. You become a journalist because you have no choice, in the way that singers go into showbiz because what else, really, are they going to do. You follow your heart."
I don’t know how Singaporean journalists feel. Neuhaus has known plenty of journalists who, in his words, "fell out of the game… Journalism was, for them, chiefly an expedient, a means to a relatively easy paycheck until something more lucrative came along."
"To my way of thinking, you cannot build a better journalist (or a better state of journalism) on a college campus," he concluded.
“Let’s just bear in mind, however, that, unlike those who devote themselves to dentistry or, say, the drygoods business, journalism is a true calling. The very best ones come to it, crawling if necessary, on their own, and they never leave. Not standing, anyway.”
I just loved those words. They are ringing with passion. Not everyone has the good fortune to find a calling or the courage to carry it out, but those who do are heroes. I don’t know whether Neuhaus really walked the talk, but anyone who thinks so highly of his profession is one lucky man.
Journalism, of course, can’t be a profession if, according to Neuhaus, it requires no special training. What is it then? He calls it a “craft” and a “calling”. That puts it on an even higher plane, with the arts and religion. Lord love a duck! And we call newspapers “rags”!