Paid for Ideas

There’s a lesson here about the history or future of journalism, I just can’t figure out quite what that lesson is.

First, a story: how a man with no writing samples landed a job The New York World in 1924 as the guy who just sits around “thinking up articles, ideas”:

I said I knew articles didn’t grow on trees. Surely it was practically a full-time job, thinking up articles for a newspaper. I went on like this, with Lippmann staring at me while I tried to talk myself into a job. I knew I was getting somewhere in a direction altogether different, that he was listening to what I had to say, and though disregarding it, he was meditating. I thought, What the hell is with this guy? He interrupted to ask if I had any specimens of my writing. Writing, I thought, what has writing got to do with it? I was still talking about thinking up articles. Later, when we got to be easy friends, I asked him about this first interview and he said, I began to realize as I listened to you talk, that none of your infinitives were split, all of your pronouns were correct, and that none of your participles dangled.

Evidence: the power of grammar.

The only thing I’d add to this is that split infinitives aren’t something you need to be worried over.

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