If you can write in English without spelling errors, you can make money out of your writing. Even if you just write up gossip.
That’s the way Washington, NYC and California journalists make a living.
Note: You’ll find the purpose of this blog at its bottom paragraph.
Journalism is an interesting trade. The journalists are practitioners of professional gossiping. They are purveyors of gossip of any kind. People reward anyone for gossip. That’s part of human nature.
People like to read gossip. Family gossip is also good.
In the heartland working people grow wheat and corn and raise livestock to feed America. In the coastal States people propagate gossip for a living.
Walter Winchell (1987-1972) is credited as the classic gossip columnist. He is the patriarch of journalistic gossiping among his many other doings. Winchell became known for his attempts to destroy the careers of his political and personal enemies. His own career progressed, after World War II. Favorite tactics were allegations of having ties to Communist organizations and accusations of sexual impropriety. Winchell's best known aphorism:
"I usually get my stuff from people who promised somebody else that they would keep it a secret".
He had a column in the NY Daily Mirror newspaper. Through the newspaper column which had nation-wide circulation, Winchell achieved the position of an “influencer’ and originator of idiomatic slang.
He was a staunch supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal throughout the Depression era. He frequently served as the Roosevelt Administration's mouthpiece. He wrote and spoke in favor of military intervention when the European war crisis loomed in the late 1930s. He befriended J. Edgar Hoover and was also an outspoken supporter of civil rights for African Americans.
In his radio and television broadcasts on April 4, 1954, Winchell helped to stoke public fear of the polio vaccine.
Sounds familiar in 2022?
Walter Winchell died in 1972. He was estimated to have a net worth over $1.5 million. It was acquired in the first half of the 20th century dollars. Nonetheless, he passed impoverished from Prostate cancer.
Walter Winchell was the archetype of modern time print, TV and radio sleaze journalism.
Ed Murrow, came next
Ed Murrow (1908-1965), was a different story. Ed Murrow earned his bona fides during WW II in Europe, broadcasting for CBS news on location. On April 12, 1945, Murrow was among the first reporters at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany where they met emaciated survivors.
He was a celebrity broadcaster who later left CBS and landed a Federal position of Director of the USIA. He became a presidential appointee in the Kennedy administration.
He also was appointed as a member of the Kennedy’s National Security Council. Talk about the power of journalism.
Murrow died of lung cancer at the age of 57. The estimate of his net worth was $1.5 million.
As you see, journalists acquire gossip on retail basis and resell it wholesale.
This blog is an introduction to an upcoming book review of Bob Woodward’s trilogy: Fear, Rage and Peril, as a part of my ongoing series titled Bibliotheca Trumpiana.
In summary, journalists thrive on a mix of social connections to powerful politicians, monetization of acquired information, and celebrity brand status.