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My boss takes off for a 1:00 pm Nats game, and I’m stuck with a fire drill.

Fire drills were somewhat cool and useful in school, but at the office, just annoying, somewhat. At least the building management is serving cookies by the platter – an offering to appease the pissed off executives who were in the midst of meetings with very very important (meaning wealthy) clients? I suppose so. Fine with me. Two sugar cookies it is.

Irony hits. In our building, coming down the stairs to exit is ok. But as we’re given the green light to re-enter the building, apparently going up the stairs is a no-no. The doors are locked. You would think that walking up a few flights of stairs is a healthy dose of cardiovascular exercise. But this is America.

Result? Hoards of people, young and old, clustered in the lobby, munching on cookies. Taking the elevators in shifts. Disgusted, I walk out and wander to the promised land – Illy Coffee. Just a few blocks from the mayhem. I briefly debate 12 oz versus 16 oz. Size matters in Illy land.

Just missed the last ticking seconds at a crosswalk. I stand and sip, when I hear this ten feet behind my head: “Street Sense, it’s the paper with a heart.” I’ve seen these people before, but never bothered to read the paper. I don’t even read the The Express, or The Examiner. Every morning, in sun or in rain, they distribute these things in front of the Metro entrance. I walk by nonchalantly, smiling, sometimes. News is depressing, too much so for the morning. The office is depressing as it is. And I have better stuff to read.

But “a paper with a heart”. Somehow, that phrase is sticky, like gum to the bottom of a shoe. Maybe the fact that it’s a paper published with the help of the homeless in the area has something to do with it.

Maybe I should take a copy of Street Sense next time.

I actually considered becoming a journalist.

Or, more accurately, I considered majoring in journalism in college. Working as an editor for my high school yearbook was a kick-ass job – the endless bagel runs, the pranks, the drama, even the weekend late-nighters. Perhaps that’s what drew me to journalism school. Nevertheless, I chose business management as my major (sigh) and went to law school (sigh). I am not saying I have regrets, for I like to consider myself as forward-thinking, not past-fretting. But after of four years of management courses, three years of law school, and a tiny bit of experience in the real legal world, I guess I have sort of a crush on journalists and writers. I envy the ability and luxury to create free-flowing works with words, with an ever-abundance of topics and themes at their disposal. Words are powerful, and journalists and writers wield those words.

Then I come across something like this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/business/media/journalists-plagiarism-jonah-lehrer-fareed-zakaria.html?_r=1&src=dayp

David Carr states it beautifully. “It may not have made a difference: journalists are tasked as seekers of truth. Fabulists find the truth quotidian and boring, insufficient to convey them to the renown they seek.”

There is a fine line between lying and colorful reporting. Plagiarism and journalism should not be mentioned in the same sentence. Come on! As Carr points out, social media heat and blog traction have been launch pads to journalistic fame and glory. But let journalism be journalism – seek the truth, and when you find it, tell it as is. The so-called “fabulists” would be the end of journalism as we know it. It’s reminiscent of all the celebrity chef havoc that has ballooned the current Food Network empire and has watered down cuisine to delis and barbeque (not that there’s anything wrong with delis and barbeque). And cupcakes (Cup Cake Wars, are you kidding).

Journalists and columnists are the brethren of a beautiful profession. Don’t ruin it for your own fame and glory. And don’t copy and paste.

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