Notes Found in a Journalist’s Desk Drawer

Cliches of language are misdemeanors. Cliches of thinking are felonies.

Show, don’t tell.

Handle mistakes quickly. As they say in the Mafia, when you find your feet in wet concrete, try to get them out before it hardens.

You have to like yourself enough so you don’t worry about whether other people like you.

The kind of guy who would bet on a pair of jacks in a poker game.

When you disagree with an intelligent person, you can agree on what you disagree about.

I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it.

If you write a book it adds three or four lines to your obit.

All great ideas are over budget.

Always ask the stupid question. You only have to look smart in print.


  1. John Corcoran says

    I love these, Jack, and immediately searched my own desk drawer for some of my own. Keep in mind the jury is still out on whether I commit journalism or I’m just a smart-ass with a keyboard.

    *Finding an intelligent person to disagree with can take most of your day. To save time, tell a moron what an idiot he is.

    *If you plan to come up with a great idea, be sure your check clears first.

    *If you’re in the Mafia, shoot somebody before he finds your mistake. Once your tootsies are in the concrete, it’s too late.

    *If the story stumps you and a deadline looms, tell it chronologically, unless it’s about time travel.

    *Don’t forget to order more White-Out (I’ve got to clean my drawers more often.)

    *Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good punchline.

    *Show, don’t tell–unless your name is Anthony Weiner.

    *Cliches of language are misdemeanors. Cliches of thinking are felonies. Feloniously demeaning language, on the other hand, may get you elected president.

    *In television, if you always ask the stupid questions, you may end up as an Anchor.

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