One of the sad things about contemporary journalism is that it actually matters very little. The world now is almost inured to the power of journalism. The best journalism would manage to outrage people. And people are less and less inclined to outrage.
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Albert Camus, a great humanist and existentialist voice, pointed out that to commit to a just cause with no hope of success is absurd. But then, he also noted that not committing to a just cause is equally absurd. But only one choice offers the possibility for dignity. And dignity matters. Dignity matters.
The trick to making a story matter is that every now and then, somebody you care about has to go. If it's somebody that you don't care about, then it doesn't really have - the stakes aren't there. But if you do that every now and then, then the story matters to people. And there are actual stakes involved, emotional stakes.
The why is what makes journalism an adult game. The why is what makes policy coherent and useful. The why is what transforms bureaucrats and foot soldiers and political leaders into viable instruments of rational and affirmative change. The why is everything and without it, the very suggestion of human progress becomes a cosmic joke.
There came this point where I sat down with all my notebooks and I had to start to write, when I thought: this whole notion of writing for the person who understands nothing, the average reader... He has to die! I can't have him in my head. And so the person I started writing for was the homicide detective.