There are tons of tributes out there to Ben Bradlee right now. Here‘s a link to a few of them.
I read his book “A Good Life” more than a decade ago and loved it, along with “Personal History” by Katharine Graham. Both of them made me desperately want to be a kick ass journalist. And reading tributes to Bradlee today made me think even more about my chosen career, and how I can personally just be better at it. Better as a leader, as a journalist, how I can care more. And how I can take it and show it.
We’ll see if that lasts beyond the morning, when the grind of the day threatens to take over. I hope it does.
And if you haven’t read those two books, you really should. Here’s the Amazon summary of “A Good Life”:
This is the witty, candid story of a daring young man who made his own way to the heights of American journalism and public life, of the great adventure that took him at only twenty years old straight from Harvard to almost four years in the shooting war in the South Pacific, and back, from a maverick New Hampshire weekly to an apprenticeship for Newsweek in postwar Paris, then to the Washington Bureau chief’s desk, and finally to the apex of his career at The Washington Post. Bradlee took the helm of The Washington Post in 1965. He and his reporters transformed it into one of the most influential and respected news publications in the world, reinvented modern investigative journalism, and redefined the way news is reported, published, and read. Under his direction, the paper won eighteen Pulitzer prizes. His leadership and investigative drive following the break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the downfall of a president, and kept every president afterward on his toes. Bradlee, backed every step of the way by the Graham family, challenged the federal government over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers – and won. His ingenuity, and the spirited reporting of Sally Quinn, now his wife, led to the creation of the Style Section, a revolutionary newspaper feature in its time, now copied by just about every paper in the country.
And some about Katharine Graham, too, because she was pretty awesome:
In lieu of an unrevealing Famous-People-I-Have-Known autobiography, the owner of the Washington Post has chosen to be remarkably candid about the insecurities prompted by remote parents and a difficult marriage to the charismatic, manic-depressive Phil Graham, who ran the newspaper her father acquired. Katharine’s account of her years as subservient daughter and wife is so painful that by the time she finally asserts herself at the Post following Phil’s suicide in 1963 (more than halfway through the book), readers will want to cheer. After that, Watergate is practically an anticlimax.
Maybe I’ll go re-read those.
But right now, I’m reading this:
So far I’ve learned a lot about starlings and some video game thing called Boids and that penguins are afraid of walruses. And once again I wonder: WHY wasn’t I more in love with science in school? It’s so good.
Beyond that, feeling a little sorry for myself (where’s my thing with feathers???) that I won’t be running the G.O.A.T.Z. 50K this weekend. At this time last year, I was so looking forward to it. To further torture myself, I re-read my race report this week. I forgot how fun it was. Now I’m even more miserable.
Just kidding. Just over 6 weeks out from surgery, I ran 4 miles this morning at a truly pathetic pace. But it felt a lot better than it did when I tried for the first time last week, and that gives me hope (hi, feathers!). The best thing is it’s not like my uterus can fall out again, right?
It’s the little things.
Happy running. Especially to all the ultramarathoners this weekend.