REMEMBERING WES PRUDEN: My assignment this morning is to give a talk on journalism ethics to a class of aspiring young reporters and editors. In preparing, I was reminded of a lecture given in 2002 at the Heritage Foundation by my newsroom mentor, Wes Pruden, who was then the Washington Times’ editor.
He told this story in his lecture about a small town Arkansas politician talking about his young son. As it happened, this politician disliked journalists intensely:
“He’s a wonderful little boy. His mother and I love him more than we love life itself. We have such big dreams for him. If it turns out, in the fullness and passage of time, that that little fella has above average intelligence, and we certainly think he does, we hope to make a preacher of him, to send him out to preach the Gospel, to lead sinners to God.
“And if it turns out that he has just average intelligence, well, that’s all right, too, and we’ll just send him to law school. God has His uses for all of us, even for lawyers.
“But if it turns out that that little boy just doesn’t have a lick of sense, God will give us the grace to live with that, too. We’ll just send him downtown to be the editor of the morning newspaper.”
It’s a lecture worth recalling today.