Susan Rasky, 1952-2013
Well, I am depressed: I have just returned from shoveling my three shovels full of earth into the grave and onto the coffin of my friend, coauthor, and colleague, Berkeley Journalism School Professor Susan Rasky.
The LORD giveth, and the LORD taketh away: blessed be the name of the LORD.
She told their students to get on Twitter, and to replace their Blackberries with iPhones.
She talked about how in 1981 she had a hard time getting her editor at... Reuters?... to pass her stories about what was really going down with the Reagan administration's budget. "Why isn't the Washington Post reporting this?" They would ask her. She found out why at the very end of 1982, when Post honcho William Grieder published his "Education of David Stockman" in the Atlantic Monthly--saying much of what she had been trying to say, and what the Post had not been saying, in 1981.
Her type of substance-based policy-focused reporting on what government did and how public choices affected the lives of real live people was going against the current for her career. But with good humor and extraordinary energy she trained a generation of Journalism School students to do their jobs in the world that Teddy White made, and later apologized for making--the world in which government and politics are not how we the people make our collective choices, but the All-in Game-Change Double-Down world in which the protagonists are politicians engaged in a zero-sum sporting event, and in which reporting consists of game play-by-play plus celebrity gossip involving much uglier people than you find in Hollywood.
If she were here, and if I could tell her that Ezra Klein hopes to get north of $10 million to do the kind of reporting that she did of OBRA-81 and OBRA-90, she would laugh and be pleased.