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The downside of Marines as newspaper editors

Some of the smartest, toughest editors I’ve known, like Peter Braestrup, came out of the Marine Corps. I didn’t know Richard Harwood, who was before my time at the Washington Post, but he had a terrific reputation for hard-nosed skepticism, even among people who didn’t know he fought in four island campaigns in the Pacific ...

577725_091103_RicksIwoJima2.jpg

Some of the smartest, toughest editors I’ve known, like Peter Braestrup, came out of the Marine Corps. I didn’t know Richard Harwood, who was before my time at the Washington Post, but he had a terrific reputation for hard-nosed skepticism, even among people who didn’t know he fought in four island campaigns in the Pacific in World War II, including Iwo Jima, where he was wounded.

The downside of Marines in the newsroom is that if you call them a really bad name, they might take a swing at you, as happened last Friday in the Post‘s Style section. This makes me nostalgic for the good old days of journalism, when being a reporter was fun and newspapers made money.   

(HT to Mr. Andrew Sullivan for video illustration)

Flickr user BL1961

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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