Obama’s ‘Dreams From My Father’

Posted on February 3, 2008

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For insights on Barack Obama’s problem-solving style, especially his ability to see both sides of an issue, see Sarah Aswell’s review of Obama’s first book, Dreams From My Father, at http://sarahaswell.com/

The review includes an interesting paragraph about Obama’s community work in Chicago. Sometimes it’s hard to get past how thin Obama’s experience is, but it’s good to remember the community organizing work, in addition to his time in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate.

I can’t decide whether the Democratic Dream Team should be Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, or Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Fortunately, I don’t have to make that decision.

BLOGGING AND NEWSPAPERING

It feels like I’m blogging on empty tonight. Not for lack of something to write! When I was a rookie reporter at the Morning Herald in Hagerstown, I lived in fear of running out of stories. My prayer was: “Give us this day, our daily story.” I guess every editor and reporter says some version of that prayer.

There’s the tale about Ernie Imhoff, legendary editor at the Evening Sun. PM papers were always scratching for something “fresh,” something not already reported in the morning paper. As his late-morning deadline approached, Imhoff was asked what stories he had on the news budget for the local section front. He read off a list of routine slugs (slugs were the one-word name reporters and editors gave to stories in the hot-type era), something like: Slaying, Mayor, Fire, Dog and Hope.

The question came: “What’s Hope?”

“I hope I get another story,” Imhoff said.

At the Morning Herald, I told my managing editor that I was having trouble coming up with story ideas.

“Don’t worry,” Dave Elliot said. “I’ve got plenty of stories for you.” I was astonished that he could put out a paper every day and never run out of stories. That was the difference between a rookie reporter (I was 22) and a veteran editor. Dave must have been all of 29 at the time.

Lo these many years later, I know that there is a never-ending supply of stories, and not enough newspapers left to hold them all. And not enough hours in the day of a humble blogger. — Bernie Hayden

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