There was a day when metropolitan newspapers published several editions a day.
That meant reporters could cover a breaking news event, write about it, and then update it, with more information, for the next edition, or the one after that.
I faced that situation on my first day as a general assignment reporter for the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News.
I had been sent to a fire in the city. Somewhat nervous but with notepad in hand, I went to the site—an abandoned building– and obtained the basic details from the fire chief on duty—the who, what, when, where and how elements, basic to all good reporting. But I was facing a deadline for the paper’s first edition. I did not believe I had enough information or time to write the whole story by the deadline.
That’s when the City Editor admonished me not to worry, just use the information I had. “Go with what you’ve got,” he said. More details could be added in subsequent editions.
For those of us in the country’s “aging population,” isn’t “going with what we’ve got” good advice for lots of circumstances, especially those involving physical challenges?
Go with what we’ve got….
If sight or hearing is diminished,
If legs aren’t as strong as they used to be,
If joints ache
If energy levels aren’t up to snuff,
If balance is a challenge,
Or breathing is difficult,
If chronic pain persists,
If tremors or dizziness annoy us,
Or lapses of memory frustrate us,
Let’s resolve to “go with what we’ve got.”
Do the very best we can with today’s story.
There will be time to add more paragraphs tomorrow.
Just do it.
Ross Jones is a former vice president and secretary emeritus of The Johns Hopkins University. He joined the University in 1961 as assistant to President Milton S. Eisenhower. A 1953 Johns Hopkins graduate, he later earned a Master’s Degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.