Tuesday, February 27, 2007
In addition to my memoir, I had been thinking of writing a novel in which a reporter is the central character. I merged both and came up with "Philip's Code," a play on words that involves Phillip's Code (note two l's), which was a shorthand used during the telegraph days that became a wire service tradition. What goes around sure comes around. The best way to explain it is to call it pioneering text messaging. The central character is Phil Davis, who has a code of honor that is rapidly vanishing, a sort of lone wolf who still insists that objectivity, fairness and balance are still possible in reporting. I guess you can say that he still regards the pen as mightier than the mouse.
"Philip's Code: No News is Good News - to a Killer" is the title of a book based on my 40 years in news reporting, a career split between United Press International and The Associated Press. It's a non-fiction novel, a description that beats me. I hoped to publish the book as a memoir but was told by an agent - who hadn't read the manuscript - that I was not famous enough. "You have to have a big name in journalism for people to be interested," he said. "Someone like Dan Rather." His remark was made before Rather retired under a cloud.