April 18th is celebrated as National Columnists’ Day in memory of Ernie Pyle, a journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner who was killed on this date in World War II. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists sponsors this holiday, inviting everyone to celebrate the late Ernie Pyle and “other journalists who carry on the difficult task of covering war, and all columnists who use their writing as a means of revealing truth, demanding accountability, and offering critique, commentary or comfort in so many aspects of life.”
Journalism has changed drastically in just the past couple of decades. With the introduction of the world wide web, anyone can share their research, thoughts, and opinions with a large audience at the drop of a hat. Newspapers are struggling unlike ever before as more people turn to their computers for news and entertainment, and more amateurs try their had at writing columns (blogs). Still, as much fun as we’re having with this project, and as much as its offered me an opportunity to sharpen my extremely rusty writing skills, I wouldn’t dare to consider my writing even a hundredth of the stuff that real columns are made of. (Unless you’re comparing me to Dear Abby….I don’t know what was wrong with that woman!) True journalism is a career not a hobby and, although our modern accessibility to vast amounts of information is amazing, it also means that we have to weed through a lot of mediocre content to get to the good stuff. On the other hand, when you pick up a newspaper or a magazine, an editor (presumably) has already done this for you. I really hope print media (or at least on-line versions of edited magazines) are still available when my kids are old enough to read.
To celebrate National Columnists Day Chris and I decided to read a little humor from world-loved humor columnist Dave Barry. A lot of his work is archived on his website and I read a few articles aloud as Chris worked on his laundry. Mondays are always rough around the Neigh household (and probably 99% of the other households in America), so a little humor was just what we needed. Part of me feels a little guilty for not reading something a little more serious — maybe something with a political or environmental slant — but here’s the thing: I know a lot of people who are constantly posting political or environmental news and op-eds on Facebook, but I only know a small handful of people who are genuinely funny. So there, I spotted a humor deficit and I used today’s “unofficial” to fix it! You can’t beat that for efficiency.
Time to round up the clothespins. Tomorrow is National Hanging Out Day.