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Since taking the helm of The New Yorker in 1998, David Remnick has returned the magazine to its profitable glory days. A graduate of Princeton University, he began his journalistic[…]

Remnick remembers the twilight of the Soviet Union.

David Remnick: It was everything. Living in Russia and working for the [Washington] Post and being utterly absorbed in that story, really the most important story since the end of World War II, it was heaven. It was journalistic heaven.

Even if you were a moron and did nothing but sit on the stoop of your building – in my case near October Square – you could get a couple of stories a day. Seriously. People who hadn’t talked for years, and years, and years suddenly would talk to you and never go away.

And maybe I was even better than that as a reporter and got around and went everywhere.

It was heaven. It was really heaven.

And so when I hear about reporters covering Iraq, yes it’s the most important story of its time conceivably, but it ain't heaven. It’s horrible. It’s unbelievably dangerous, and it’s endlessly depressing.

This was the opposite. It was uplifting. It was filled with human potential and possibility,  most of which had been disappointed or dashed at the moment. But it was. It shaped me a lot.


Recorded on Jan 7, 2008

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