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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 9, 2009 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

A spark of passion in the newsroom

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The so-called "newsroom brawl" between an editor and a writer at The Post recently has been a fine distraction for the health-care weary.

The two men apparently came to blows over, of all things, words. Not ad hominems necessarily, or at least not exclusively, but words as in the quality of writing. So began the argument that led to the scuffle heard 'round the Internet.

Be still, my fibrillating heart.

The pugilist was one Henry Allen, a renowned writer and an editor with the Style section. On the other end of Allen's ire (something between a clenched fist and a slap, say eyewitnesses) was Style writer Manuel Roig-Franzia, co-author of a "charticle" (an appetizer-sized combination of words, images and graphics) that Allen called the second-worst story he'd seen in 43 years.

Roig-Franzia, who had sparred verbally with Allen, responded by suggesting that Allen not be such a "[bleep]." Allen, 68 and just a few weeks from retirement, lunged. Bystanders to the excitement, including Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli, intervened -- and Earth continued to spin on its axis in the customary fashion.

No harm, no foul, right? Not quite.

Much harrumphing has ensued. Opinions veer between "We can't have that sort of thing" to "Was that great, or what?" Moi? I feel like Miss Rosie Sayer in "The African Queen," reluctantly weak-kneed in the presence of the rough-hewn Charlie Allnut.

In an online chat, The Washington Post's Gene Weingarten cheered the passion, long missing from America's bean-counter newsrooms. Reporters of a certain age remember when newsrooms bristled with heat amid the search for light. Fights may have been infrequent, but tempers often flared as deadlines loomed and reporters sweated over just the right word, usually under the baleful eye of an editor whose own deadline was bearing down.

The newsroom wasn't just a workplace. It was a rendezvous point for renegades from the ordered life who, nevertheless, were compelled to perform under fire. To create on demand is a contradictory skill. To do so artfully is not usually a function of charm.

Thus, David Von Drehle, a former Post editor and writer (now at Time), lamented the decision that Allen could not return to the building, calling him "the most dazzling and original talent I've seen in 30-plus years in the journalism business."

"Instead of being banned from the building, Henry should have a statue in the lobby," he told the Washington City Paper.

While some staffers have been placing bets on what might have been the worst story ever to cross Allen's desk, others have tried to discover the deeper meaning of the fracas. Among the theories advanced is that Allen was reacting to New Media's advancing siege.

"What we are watching is a whole profession losing its swagger," former Postie Natalie Hopkinson wrote on The Root, a Web site owned by The Washhington Post Co.

Piffle.

Now, there's a word unlikely to have tumbled from the fingertips of Henry Allen. Or those of Matt Labash, an ardent admirer of Allen and himself the sort of muscular writer who fashions sentences you want to read aloud. The thought that this smallish eruption portends or remarks on the end of journalism-as-we-know-it was enough to prompt Labash to send an e-mail rant, which more or less ranks with having Bruce Springsteen call you up to sing "Happy Birthday."

"He's the best writer by a factor of five that the Style section's ever seen," wrote Labash. "The problem with newspapers is there were never enough Henry Allens to go around, which the Internet only serves to prove daily."

Maybe, as with all things lately, we're overanalyzing what amounted to a scuffle between two men under the influence of testosterone. Alex Jones, longtime media critic and head of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, distilled the event to its plainer truth:

"Maybe it's because I'm from the South, but if you call me a '[bleep],' I'm going to take a shot at you unless I know I'll get the crap kicked out of me . . . and maybe even then."

Which is to say that Allen was defending his honor, an act so unfamiliar in today's emasculated newsrooms that we hardly recognize it. No one would insist that fisticuffs are an appropriate route to resolution (harrumph, harrumph), but it is sublimely reassuring that such a passion for wordsmithing survives in a twittering, talking-head world.

With appropriate concern for Roig-Franzia's own bruised honor, it is still possible to cheer Allen's spirit. As Miss Rosie might put it: "Mr. Allen, you're the bravest man that ever lived. You're just overdue, that's all."

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