eric's elysian fieldsJOURNALISM

...the wickedness of otherworldly wonderment...

Deciding that graduate studies in literature was a bit esoteric, I went for the practical route to professional poverty: journalism. At least an internal sense of sastifaction allows my pride to prevail over the fact that my roomate will be making three times my salary when we're both done with graduate school.

Living in Paris, with its crossroads mix of cultures from old French colonies in Arabic northern Africa, sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East and Asia, cemented my hopes of one day becoming a foreign correspondent so that I may share with readers a sense of another culture.

Though technology is now really changing the very definition of news and how it is presented, I still view news in an old-fashioned sense, I suppose: I'm a writer and prefer good writing, and I like as much depth as possible. Anything less is insufficient and leaves people uninformed in my view. And I think many newspapers today have ceded their one attribute -- depth and exposition -- in an effort to keep up graphically. Hopefully the internet will give newspapers a chance to merge these competing priorities.

A few links to some of my favorite media outlets:

  • The New York Times--no one delivers better writing and more in-depth reporting on a wide range of issues. To the chagrin of anti-elitists, it's still the pantheon of American journalism.
  • The Christian Science Monitor--the best little-known newspaper out there. Wonderful analytical reporting from all parts of the world and all corners of the United States. The Monitor often has the most original angles on the top stories in world affairs, politics and the home front.
  • Le Monde--the major French daily, which offers excellent foreign news with enlightened analysis and commentary that comes from a decidedly different perspective. Definitely one of the best newspapers in the world.
  • Harper's Magazine--Harper's is the perfect blend for me: both literary and political, with some wonderful long pieces of journalism that are as good as anything out there. In recent issues, their extensive reports have been on the division of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey, the "wheaties" who chase and reap America's harvest each summer across the Great Plains and a look at the underside of Florida's dogtracks.