Part II: The Harry Robert School of Journalism
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Part II: The Harry Robert School of Journalism

My first day at the Ridgewood News about a hundred years ago I was introduced to the copy editor, Harry Robert. Harry was an 83-year-old retiree from the copy desk at The New York Times, and I have never had a better editor.

He took me aside and said, “Rebecca, I want to give you the Harry Robert School of Journalism.”

I waited for him to impart some arcane wisdom. And he did: “Don’t say ‘reside’ when you want to say ‘live.’ And don’t say ‘purchase’ when you want to say ‘buy.'”

Now, whenever we get a new recruit, I give him or her the Harry Robert School of Journalism.

Sure, some “purchases” and “resides” slip in, but we do try to obey the “KISS rule of journalism”: Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.

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