Walking west on 40th Street, between 7th & 8th, you pass the entrance to the CCNY Graduate School of Journalism. In the space of a city block, those aspiring to pursue a career reporting the news, cross paths with the the best in the field @work in The New York Times building.
There was a time when the most trusted man in America was a television journalist. Today, journalists across the globe find themselves at risk when reporting the truth. ‘Fake news’ sites proliferate where fiction replaces fact.
Lost in the cacophony of the latest news cycle is the value professional journalists provide in our society; collecting and communicating information that empowers the rest of us to make the best decisions.
This week, The Friday Poem is for those who follow their dream to newsrooms around the corner, and around the world. ‘Voice’ was written by NPR journalist and poet, Jeffrey Brown.
for Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer
There are those with a voice so rich,
so bell-strong, time chiseled, and alive
they can read the phone book and
you will hear the deeds and failings
in every name, the laughter and wailing
of ghosts who inhabit each address,
the infinite possibility
in every number. There are those
with a voice that rich, he says –
the lucky ones. But that is not us.
We open our mouths and out comes a
small, high sound, cracking midsentence,
straining to tell the story we know
to be true. There are things you can do:
Learn to breathe. Stand up straight and
let the air flow through you, belly to
chest and into the mask of your face.
Take a bit of chocolate, sip on your
coffee – excite the senses. Imagine
the people in their hoes hungry for
dinner and for news of the world.
Underline phrases, emphasize what
should be emphasized, diminish
the less important. Decide what is
important. Be sure you understand
the meaning of what you are to say.
Do not yell, do not whisper, look ahead,
not down, fill your lungs, open your mouth
and speak. The Zen master says “You
find your voice when you find yourself.”
But that, too, is not for us. (Who knows
What else you’ll find there? he laughs).
Better to listen to that voice
as though from afar, as though it
is not yours. Then speak again.
Jeffrey Brown from ‘The News:Poems’ 2015