Curiousity that carried the reporter

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"You have to want to learn about frogs or cancer or assassins, everything is there to know."
America's Best Newspaper Writing - Roy Peter Clark and Christopher Scanlan (p. 167)

This should have been listed in the criteria necessary for journalism, if it isn't already instilled in those seeking such a profession from the start.  When I picture the ideal portrait of a journalist, I imagine someone inquisitive for life, like Cynthia Gorney.

I love the part in Gorney's profile where she quotes Geisel (Dr. Seuss) on why happy endings are important: "'A child identifies with the hero, and it is a personal tragedy to him when things don't come out all right'" (Clark & Scanlan 173).  Talk about great quote selection!  This statement contains a lot of appeal.  Parents will, If they be anything like myself, read it and think directly of their children and how true an observation Seuss made.  This journalist did an exquisite job of illuminating her subject: there is no telling going on here.  What there is, is engaging portraiture. To have nailed this piece the way she has done, she must have remained in a constant mindful state during the interview process.  Rather than pronouncing Seuss the beloved author of children's books, that he is, Gorney refers to awards received or quotes someone's praise on his keen eye for color; and in place of an additional compliment that would credit him as a simple, non-showy person, Gorney follows the original flattery with a token of his manner, which can summarizes this idea of Seuss: "He does not explain to the art department why each green is wrong--just not parrotty enough, or something" (Clark & Scanlan 170). 

Another notable thing, the reporter never uses the word "I," and describes herself in the third person. 

3 Comments

Angela Palumbo said:

Oh my goodness, yes! That quote really resonated with me as well. For Seuss's audience, the world is still ideal. Everything has happy endings. It is not until later that they learn that this is not always the case. At the same time, it is important to let the children learn and see this on their own instead of tearing them down from that young age. Also, what child would want their parents to read them the story of The Cat In The Hat who did not manage to get the house cleaned up before the mother got home and so they were grounded. Or what about the Grinch. What if he really DID ruin Christmas. That's a nightmare for a chld!

Greta Carroll said:

You're right, she really did get some excellent quotes from him. Either she really prepared her interview questions well, spent a lot of time with him, he was a great interviewee, or some combination of the above. In contrast to the other profile we read (by Stockton), she uses very few quotes from other people, but she capitalizes on all the great quotes she has from Geisel, so that this doesn't even matter.

April M. Minerd said:

I love that innocence about children, and I think people love that Seuss recognizes it. The profile really capitalizes on this aspect.

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