Today I interview Tamara Jones, a wonderful writer who left The Washington Post right after one of her stories was honored as part of an entry on the Virginia Tech shootings that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2008. In preparing many of these interviews for publication, I find myself wishing that I could have worked with the person whose story I'm sharing. That certainly was the case with Tamara.
It saddens me to see people of this caliber on the outside of the newspaper industry. Our newspapers are losing talent, experience and wisdom that's awfully difficult, if not impossible, to replace. This occasional series, "Pulitzers Lost, What a Cost," is an attempt to explore what it means for society, for journalism and for journalists that America's newspaper newsrooms are shrinking. It's a sign of how serious the times are that even people with this type of track record, people who have produced work recognized to be at the highest level, are now on the outside, without a newspaper to support their journalism.
Typically, I introduce each subject with a photograph. But when I asked Tamara, "Is there a picture available on the Web that you prefer?" here's how she responded.
"Yes, I would like Angelina Jolie's picture, please," she wrote.
"I don't think there is a picture of me, and if there is, I hate it and, being Irish and all, I would just get vindictive and probably make you an unspeakably horrid character in my novel. Can we use the Far Side cartoon, instead??"
I wish. But I don't have Gary Larsen's permission to use his cartoons, so I thought it best just to leave the photo space blank. Tamara's words speak volumes. No picture is necessary.
1. Name, age, final paper.