Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801

“Be Honest. And unmerciful.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in "Almost Famous."

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous.”

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead today in New York at the age of 46. As the only editor in the newsroom at The Sun, I did a little scrambling to get confirmation from multiple sources after seeing the first Tweet from wsj.com — news outlets get hacked, it was odd to see a police news story pop up first in the Wall Street Journal and, for a while, it wasn’t even on its front.

Remember, it’s not always true on Twitter. Not until you see multiple confirmations.

As an actor, Hoffman probably wasn’t a fan of the press. But he got the “jaded editor speaks to wanna-be journalist” scene completely right in “Almost Famous,” as legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs.

I’ve heard various versions of that speech from multiple editors’ mouths since I was a teenager, right down to the suggestion to look into law school. Sometimes, it came out of my mouth as I was hiring. Listen. It applies to more than just rock reporting.

“Be honest. And unmerciful.”

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2014 by in Journalism and tagged , , .

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