Through the looking glass

Follow me down the rabbit hole.

Journalism reminds me of a Rube Goldberg machine.

Backtrack: I’m sure you’ve heard of it.  At least seen one.  It’s one of those ridiculously complicated, multi-step contraptions that completes a fairly simple task.  Along the lines of a domino trick, they take hours to set up and a minute to knock down.

“Rube Goldberg” is an adjective, as defined by Merriam Webster: “accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply.”

Forward again: The connection is that journalism is a highly complicated (at times) process that is really trying to solve the simple problem of relaying information, and at a more base level, conveying words with context.

Journalists can work months or years on a single piece to end up with a product that might be book-length at most.  In the name of what? Words.  Information.

Why work that hard?  Why ask people to pay money when they could read Twitter feeds and Facebook updates every day?  Why continue?

On down the rabbit hole: Like any good Rube Goldberg machine, journalism may not be necessary in the eyes of some, but the end product is fulfilling and worthwhile to those who create it.  And it holds enough interest to keep people curious and coming back.

Ready to come full circle?

Rube Goldberg won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 as a political cartoonist for the New York Sun.

Yep, he was a journalist.

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