Excerpts from Chapter-1

 So, you want to be a reporter, eh?”

“Yes, sir.”


“I want to expose corruption, red tape and hypocrisy in the government.”

The conversation during his job interview with Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Gary R. Powers flashed through Jack Stefancic’s mind as he read again the front-page story “Help pours in for boy.” Below the headline was the blurb: “Tumor victim, 10, thanks donors.”

The story, written by features writer Maggie Caruso, was accompanied by an imposing three-column photo of Scott Brown surrounded by gifts sent by the readers of The Crazewood Journal. Among the gifts were a 6-foot plastic basketball hoop, Nintendo games, baseball bats, gloves and basketballs, and a basketball jersey. In the story, Scott’s mother, Lisa Brown, profusely thanked the paper for writing about her son’s plight. The response from the readers was so overwhelming the local mail carrier had to make special trips to Scott’s house to deliver the gifts, get-well cards and letters with checks. Some readers even sent $5 or $10 in cash.

They were moved by the original story published a week earlier, which was written by Stefancic.

 “Did she steal your story?”

Stefancic turned around and saw Diana Crocker, community editor, looking at him. It was difficult to figure out whether she was sympathizing, mocking or simply scrutinizing him. Perhaps she might have noticed his face turning taut with seething anger and dismay at Caruso for stealing his follow-up story.


Excerpts from Chapter-2

Gray’s quick-thinking skills were legendary. Once, a few minutes before the deadline while a copy editor was putting the finishing touches to Page-A2, the computer system crashed. The copy editors and the printshop mechanics, who rushed to the newsroom, tried to reboot the computers, turned off and on the switches and fiddled with the main fuse. But the computers wouldn’t even sputter. The only alternative was to drop Page-A2 and three other pages because the printing plates were made in a four-page sequence. The page numbers would be out of whack. Gray didn’t panic. He quietly took a few sips out of his red Thermos, tore off Page-A2 from an old edition, changed the date by cutting and pasting letters from another copy, and gave the page to the printshop folks. The next day’s Page-A2 had the correct date, but old news. The following day, The Crazewood Journal ran a correction: Due to a technical glitch, a wrong Page-A2 was printed in yesterday’s edition.


Excerpts from Chapter-12

“Of course, you know everything. I must meet all three of ’em. It’s interesting. Something fishy is goin’ on here,” Trotter said and set out to meet the new employees. He returned after about 45 minutes, saying, “This is great! They want to diversify the newspaper and there’s not even a single black.”

Everyone in the newsroom, including Hamilton, looked at Trotter in surprise. It was as if lightning had struck the newspaper.

“You all know the gal at the frontdesk? She is Chinese. She was a financial consultant in a bank. The dude in the circulation department immigrated from India. Hear this! Hear this joke. This dude used to be a big shot computer guru for a Fortune 500 company and was laid off. His job went to Bangalore. He got screwed by his own countrymen,” Trotter said and laughed. The others couldn’t resist laughing at the irony of it or at the way Trotter slapped his desk and laughed. Whenever he laughed, his beer belly swung up and down like a big water balloon.

“Guess what?” the sports reporter asked and answered his own question. “These geniuses here asked that Indian swami to make cold calls and get new subscribers. Some of ’em hung up on him thinkin’ he’s a telemarketer from Mumbai, Bombay or whatever. So he stopped making calls.” Trotter laughed again loudly and slapped his desk. And his belly swung up and down more vigorously.

“Now the Indian guy is circlin’ typos in our paper. They also got an Australian chick in the ad department. Hello mate! How are you, mate?” Trotter imitated her. “She’s hot, man. All the gals in that department are hot.”

Hamilton stopped laughing and became serious. He dashed to Powers’ office as if propelled by a turbo engine.

“Look, he’s runnin’ to the boss’ office,” Trotter told Crocker and shook his head in disbelief. “He’s gonna tell him that he’s screwed up with this minority hirin’ or diversification, or whatever.”

Hamilton returned from Powers’ office, tucking in his shirttail and smiling as if he had just won an award. The publisher and the editor-in-chief complimented the STAFF WRITER-MANAGER for pointing out that the temp agency didn’t send even a single African-American to the newspaper. Powers applauded him for being “very observant and for looking after the newspaper’s interest.”

Hamilton explained to Trotter that he had to bring it to Powers’ attention so he could ask the temp agency to send a couple of African-Americans.

“So, these guys are temps? Why?”



Chapter – 1 Reporter steals follow-up story

Chapter – 2 Blame game dominates meetings

Chapter – 3 Rookie gets crappy assignments

Chapter – 4 Zoo wall collapse kills animals

Chapter – 5 Wishing for glitzy tinseltown newsrooms
Chapter – 6 Horror-scope gives new meaning to recycling

Chapter – 7 O’Drama makes the headline

Chapter – 8 Activist keeps track of city proceedings

Chapter – 9 McPain rips banks for redlining

Chapter – 10 Long wait for front-page byline ends

Chapter – 11 Community activist suffers from strange ‘killer’ illness

Chapter – 12 Newspaper launches diversity drive

Chapter – 13 Reporter joins government, publisher busts union effort

Chapter – 14 Journalists look for moonlighting to pay their mounting bills

Chapter – 15 New lead baffles reporter

Chapter – 16 Paper hires NAACP chief as attorney

Chapter – 17 City building inspector shakes down ethnic stores

Chapter – 18 Ulterior motives trigger news tips

Chapter – 19 Beep Beep Autos in driver’s seat as newspaper pleads for ads

Chapter – 20 Gas station job offers new experience

Chapter – 21 Boy, 10, loses fight against tumor

Chapter – 22 Newspaper scraps diversity drive

Chapter – 23 Publisher names managing editor

Chapter – 24 Planting gossip to undermine competition

Chapter – 25 Dreaming big

Chapter – 26 Teens kicked out of foster care system face challenges

Chapter – 27 Reporters pad their story lists

Chapter – 28 Journalistic skills come in handy at gas station

Chapter – 29 Online edition adds more work

Chapter – 30 Paper siphons ads to online edition

Chapter – 31 Editor receives journalism award,
                     new sports column makes debut

Chapter- 32 O’Drama, McPain trade jabs at endorsement meeting

Chapter – 33 One newspaper endorses O’Drama,

Chapter – 34 City holds public meating on land rezoning

Chapter – 35 Residents voice concerns at public meeting

Chapter – 36 Illegally gotten documents pose dilemma for paper

Chapter – 37 Reporter agonizes over career change.