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Blair was considered a rising star at the New York Times because he was able to write compelling and interesting stories about any assignment from his editors.
Unfortunately, editors at NYT do not like the stories in their paper to be "compelling" or "interesting." Readers might mistake the Gray Lady for the New York Post or the Daily News if that happened too often.
The editors of the Times are so scared of truthiness that they actually fired Blair when they found out that he was writing from his gut -- where all good writing should originate.
Feel what they sayEdit
Blair wasn't a factonista. Unlike like most fact-hugging "reporters" at the Times, Blair wasn't a tool of the airline industry who needed to hop on a plane to "research" and "interview." He became a star reporter at NYT by writing what he felt was true if it would make a good story.
Blair didn't need to wander around in the muck to "investigate" a story. His gut told him all he needed to know after a quick search of the Lexis/Nexis database for good text-bites and quotations.
Blair learned early on that it is vital for a reporter to empathize with his subjects. A less perceptive journalist might take an "Umm..." as a sign of a non-responsive interview subject. But Blair knew how to feel the pain of his subjects. He knew how to interpret even stammering grunts into the words that his subject had really meant to utter.
This remarkable talent allowed Blair to get superb quotes from just about any interview. Shortly before he was fired, Blair had fine-tuned his abilities so much that he rarely needed to meet with the subjects of his stories.
Tragic career choiceEdit
When his bosses at the New York Times found out how truthy Blair was, they fired both him and the editors who hired him. It became a big boo-hoo "crisis" at the paper.
Blair's major problem was one made by too many youngsters coming out of college. He leapt at an early job offer without considering its long-term consequences. The New York Times offered him what he thought was a plum job as a general assignment reporter.
Blair had all the correct instincts, but was worsted by his instructors at the University of Maryland. He knew how to create a story, but wasn't taught how to develop it in the right direction.
His professors at Maryland should have warned him that the soulless and gutless Times wasn't a place that could recognize or use his tremendous talents. They should have directed him toward any of the News Corp. outlets -- Fox News, the New York Post -- any of them. Rupert Murdoch's outlets tend to be more in touch with the empathetic form of reporting that Blair had mastered.
Blair's vast talent might even have earned him a coveted spot as a White House paid columnist like Armstrong Williams if only his teachers had told him how to sprinkle RNC talking points into his stories.
More bad adviceEdit
After leaving the Times, Blair landed a tell-all book deal, but was once again the victim of bad advice. Blair's original outline for the book, called Burning Down My Master's House, proposed a rolicking tale of exciting escapades.
He wanted to tell the story of his daring rooftop-jumping escape from a brutal Jesus-based drug rehab bootcamp that was run by the drunken Catholic priest who had abused him as a child. He proposed telling the stories of sources who had met with him in the dead of night at Brooklyn cemetaries and Queens parking lots to make plans for burning down the Times headquarters building and Times Square for good measure.
His original outline would have produced an exciting book that would surely have shot to the top of his ex-employer's best-seller list. But Blair wasn't allowed to write that book. Instead, his editors at New Millennium Press insisted on a boring insider-gossip memoir about office politics at the New York Times. Predictably, nobody cared.
The book barely made a blip on the best-sellers lists.
|of Black Friends|