|This is me in my office at the Blue Ridge Business Journal about 15 years ago.|
|Weekly editor in 1981.|
I had no idea what the job would be, just that I wanted to work there, to become a sportswriter. He said, "Our copy boy left for the newsroom yesterday. Want that job?" I didn't know what a copy boy did, but I lept at the opportunity and began work that night. The pay was $5 per shift. I was happy to get it.
It has been an often bumpy, always gratifying ride through embarrassing failure and soaring success and it has never been dull.
|My home office, 1986 (I was 40)|
The fact is, however, that regardless of the quality of the journalism I have practiced over the years, I have loved the profession since that August day in Asheville. I have met and become friends with people who would never have been in my life without journalism. I have been presented opportunities to do some good, to influence the community, to help shape opinion.
Here's how I remembered a day that would shape my entire life in my memoir Burning the Furniture:
"The first time I walked into a newsroom—a late August afternoon in 1964—I couldn’t see enough of it in my view shed. I turned around and looked at people and machines; listened to clattering, urgent noises; smelled cigarette smoke and coffee and paste and an asphalt- and oil-tinged breeze off the parking lot, as it wafted through open metal-framed windows. I wanted to touch something, and knew instinctively that a final level of stimulation would complete this sensual feast.
|New to Roanoke, 1971.|
|1975 column pix.|
"At one point, I heard Bob say, 'Dan, are you listening?' and I realized I’d strayed from the interview. I said, 'This looks like so much fun. I want to do it.' I think the depth of sincerity of that innocent pronouncement from an 18-year-old who’d barely ever held a job got me a desk, a chair and a typewriter that I didn’t know how to use, starting that day, that hour, that minute."
|Virginia Communications Hall of Fame induction, 2010.|
|Roanoke World-News, 1975. I'm top left, dark sweater.|
|Mid-1970s, covering a high school all-star basketball game. I'm dead center, front. You may recognize some of the others.|