Do you have a creative process?

Jim Lehrer: As a practical matter; our editorial process begins every day at 10 o’clock with an editorial meeting. All our senior producers, senior correspondents. We talk about the news of the day. We talk about what we already have ready to go. We talk about how we might present it and what kind of guests we should have. Who we already have lined up maybe on stories we already know are going to happen that day.

And then we spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together, getting the right guests, trying to get the right mix of guests. And I do the news summary. There is a news editor who presents it to me in rough form, and I came out of print, so I am not what you’d call the terrific news reader. So I need all the help I can get. And one of the big helps I need is that I have to write my own stuff. It has to go inside.

I think I am such a writer now that I think with my fingers more than I do of my own head. Some people would agree with that.

But at any rate it has to go in. The way it gets to my head is through my fingers. I don’t really have it until I’ve written it. And so that’s the process. It goes through your head. And at 6 o’clock eastern time, we go on the air!

And the great thing about doing live television is that 6 o’clock eastern time you go on the air whether you are ready or not. There’s none of this, “Hey, I’m not ready yet!” Come back, you know, listen to some music, have a drink and come back.

 

Jim Lehrer: I’ve been in journalism for 40 years now, and over 30 with the News Hour. And it is the most exhilarating kind of a thing.

It’s little boy/little girl work. Let’s face it. I know everybody says, “Oh, it’s serious.” Yeah, sure it’s serious – serious issues, serious events. I’m in the serious issues, serious event business.

But as a journalist it’s like eating candy because I’m exposed to all these things that are happening. Important things, important people. Not so important people, but interesting people. All kinds.

There are no clichés to me. I’ve met every kind of person there is.

Somebody might say, “Ah, he’s just a left-handed Texas billionaire’s son,” or something. I know a left-handed Texas billionaire’s son. “Oh, he’s just a homeless kid. He’s just a kid who can’t find a job. He’s down and out. He’s been on drugs.” And I’ve interviewed every kind of person there is, I have interviewed and been exposed to. And it is a thrill.

 

Jim Lehrer: I write a little bit on my fiction every day. It’s just what I do. Yes I have my day job. I do that too; but I do both things every day. And I have for years.

I don’t get up in the morning and say, “Am I gonna write today?” The only thing I think about is what I am going to write, not if I’m going to write.

I think probably what’s happened to me – and it’s glorious, and I’m so lucky to be able to do this – is that by writing fiction, I am free to let my imagination go.

 

Recorded: July 4, 2007.

 

Jim Lehrer talks about what goes into a broadcast, or a novel.

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
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  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
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New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
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Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Surprising Science
  • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
  • Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
  • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.

The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.

For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.

A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."

Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.

Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.

As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.

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