VJ Epstein, journalism lifer  

...executing both the calling and the profession


Philosophers say the human brain craves intellectual stimulation above all else. If they're right, there may be no better life than that of a journalist producing the "first rough draft of history." 

Journalists are a kind of frenetic historian, operating in the field as a witness to history.

I'm not the most famous scribe of my generation, ethnicity, gender or age. However, I am proud of my body of work and the principled manner in which I've built my career. 

For me, being an old school journalist in this era of information saturation means clinging to the idea that I produce value-added news for the U.S. electorate. Rather than the empty intellectual calories of the generic filler now known as "content." 

It means resisting the siren call of shortcuts like access journalism, which refers to the trading of positive news to newsmakers for scoops; click bait, the use of selective sins of omission to overstate a story's value; and fake journalism, which is the knowing misrepresentation of the truth.

This approach has yielded six national writing awards and five regional awards. My biggest scoop is the iconic story of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. The mass drowning which claimed 35 lives at St. Rita's Nursing Home during Hurricane Katrina. 

I take pride in generating articles which would not be produced by my peers in my absence. Meaning stories that make a difference and advance our understanding of the topics they cover in some novel way.

If you want to know something about me click on the "Lady in the Hall" link below. 

This short story details the body count inside St. Rita's Nursing Home. It's probably as good a place as any to begin to get to know me, because it illustrates how far I'm willing to go and how much I'm willing to suffer to execute my professional duties.

Lady in the Hall won the national Mayborn Award for narrative journalism.