When it comes to nostalgia, I always think of The Clash song London Calling.
Specifically, the line about “Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust,” which I have always interpreted as “The Beatles were awesome and so was the idea of the Sixties. We’re not the Beatles, and it’s not the Sixties. But we are singing right here, right now, so listen up.”
Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself being nostalgic for a newsroom that I wasn’t even part of yet.
The year was 1986, and The Dallas Morning News had just won its first Pulitzer Prize. The newsroom was celebrating this accomplishment, which really put the newspaper on the national stage, when Burl Osborne stood on a desk and addressed staffers.
According to someone who was there, Mr. Osborne, then-editor and president of The News, said something along the lines of “You keep providing the stories, and I’ll keep providing the ink and newsprint to run them.”
I’m always advising my 20- and 30-something colleagues to not buy into the hype of “how great things used to be.” This story is the exception to the rule, because if there’s a newsroom equivalent to the warrior riding up and down the ranks, sword raised, exhorting his troops to triumph, this is it.
And it sounds pretty great indeed.
- Burl Osborne’s obituary in The Dallas Morning News
- In his words: Burl Osborne’s April 2012 column in neighborsgo