A journalism career nipped in the bud
My junior year at Lower Merion High School in Suburban Philadelphia (it was 1953) was a pivotal juncture in my life.
I joined the Merionite, the school newspaper, and soon rose to news editor. Moreover, a friendship with a fellow editor led to a partnership with several seniors in writing, producing and even being a walk on in a student musical comedy production consisting of about 125 participants in all. I felt that I was on my way.
But my friends graduated and I was left without champions. Moreover the faculty member monitoring the newspaper was of a rather timid nature, perhaps due to her physical challenges resulting from a car accident, and was not comfortable with a brash and aggressive Robert. The Editor-in-chief job went to my best friend, who I had recruited to the paper. I resigned.
And to my astonishment and chagrin, I was passed over for a production role in the senior musical. Again, my no longer best friend who I had recruited to show business activities was chosen in my place as producer. (In our old age, we occasionally correspond. Our paths, interests and beliefs are quite different, but we have the past in common along with the affection that goes with it.)
Moreover, to add insult to injury, I was dismissed from the Special English class because the star teacher did not feel I fit in.
(Later in the school year I was chosen to represent the District in a debate before the Philadelphia Chapter of the World’s Trade Council and my picture was on the front page of the Inquirer with my adversary alongside U. S. Senator Jim Duff. Given my so so grades and thus to the amazement of faculty members – perhaps including the English teacher – the state standardized tests given at the end of the senior year put me in the front ranks of the class. There is a big difference between questions on the standardized tests and questions on our school tests, for example: “What was the day, the month and the year the Civil War begun?” That would be an excellent topic for a debate in itself.)
Decades later I was publishing www.CSDP.org and www.DrugWarFacts.org which drew thousands of visitors each day. Now, in retirement from day to day business operations, I devote many hours each day to www.RealReporting.org a/k/a www.NewsLanc.com.
I can’t go back and change things in my senior year (nor would I want to). But I certainly have satisfied my penchant for journalism.