Studs Terkel RIP

Back in the days when journalism seemed like a real possibility for the future, I wanted to be like Studs Terkel, and not just because he was in the greatest baseball movie of all time. I wanted to be the reporter who didn't make a living being flashy, but could still be the life of the party if needed. I wanted to be the guy who took an interest in probing the mind of the average person and getting at what was in there. I wanted to be the writer who let other people tell the story while I got out of the way.

I got a little lost along the way, became a little disillusioned with what journalism had become and the seeming impossibility that there would ever be another Studs Terkel. Or maybe I just got lazy. Whatever the case, I never stopped liking Studs Terkel. I was lucky enough to hear him speak a few times at lectures and readings and tell stories about his career in the business. For a guy best known for capturing the words of others, he was pretty deft at telling a story himself, and once he got going, it was hard to get him to stop.

It was nice to listen.

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