Words: The Foundation Stone of Journalism

What difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse surrounded by 300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog…? The question is: Can you write?

—Ernest Hemingway

A good friend and office mate of mine had this quote taped to the door of our office for several years. It stuck with me long after we parted company, not because of the question itself, but because of the writing that sets up the question. “A picturesque little outhouse” is a phrase we wouldn’t normally turn these days. “Feeble minded goats?” Same deal. In asking “Can you write?” Hemingway shows us the benefits of writing itself.

With the proliferation of Internet sites that promote open expression, a great many voices ...

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