Three years ago, I gave up my ‘dream’ job as a senior writer at one of the most storied institutions in journalism, The Wall Street Journal. My job was no longer a dream job, at least not for me.
“The Gestation Period of a Llama (or Why I Quit The Wall Street Journal)” by Ann Davis Vaughan
So begins one of the 19 stories in Ink Stained, a collection written and edited by members of the Class of 1992 of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. With datelines from Paldiski, Estonia, to Istanbul, Turkey, from the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina to Peru and Chechnya during bloody conflicts, Ink Stained chronicles the tumultuous careers of these “J-School” graduates during one of the most rapid and profound dislocations of an industry in history.
“The Class of 1992 has spent its journalistic career in an unprecedentedly contradictory atmosphere: invention, speed, and global reach on the one hand; layoffs, closings and downsizings on the other,” writes author and J-School professor Samuel G. Freedman in the Foreword.
Ink Stained is a broad-ranging vivid snapshot of what it means to have been a journalist over the last two decades.
We hear from a veteran investigative reporter who leaves The Wall Street Journal not long after Rupert Murdoch’s arrival; a single mom struggling to make ends meet on a shrinking reporter’s salary; a star reporter who leaves journalism to become a First Amendment lawyer; an editor who loses a colleague as her award-winning newspaper guts its staff; and a Manhattan publisher forced to lay off staff to avoid financial ruin.
Ink Stained is also an examination of some of the personal and professional challenges faced by all journalists. A bureau chief in his home country of Turkey is pressured by the government to tone down his reporting; a foreign correspondent is spooked by a town run by drug traffickers and guerrillas who killed the last gringo reporter to visit; a journalist who joins the fight for Chechnya rape victims; a war correspondent whose foray into the corporate battlefield in Zurich is more dangerous than she’d anticipated; and a journalism professor refusing to compromise ideals to appease school administrators critical of the student newspaper.
Ink Stained contributors have covered Iraq, Russia, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and, of course, the United States from New York and North Carolina to Pennsylvania and Texas to Los Angeles and San Francisco and written a total of at least nine books.
Ink Stained contributors have written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, New York Newsday, The Baltimore Sun, The News & Observer, The Times-Picayune, San Francisco Bay Guardian, LA Weekly, Stamford Advocate, Boston Business Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Tallahassee Democrat, The Valley Times, BusinessWeek, SmartMoney, Rolling Stone, The Buenos Aires Herald, The Baltic Independent, Demokratzia, Financial Planning, Parents, Parenting, Shape, USA Weekend, Ray Gun, Bikini Magazine, and Fit Pregnancy.
These contributors have also reported for wire services such as The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones Newswires, and AP-Dow Jones, and appeared on broadcast and online media ranging from CBS News, NBC News, PBS, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, KCRW and WBAI to SFProgressive.com, MSN Money, Patch.com, and AOL’s online publications Money & Finance, Dailyfinance and WalletPop.
Ink Stained writers have also contributed to or edited literary magazines, such as Guernica and Epiphany, and reported for international organizations, such as Amnesty International.
A portion of profits, if any, from the sale of Ink Stained will be contributed to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism on behalf of the Class of 1992