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Monday, 6 October 2014

Reading the Real Story …

Leaving Story AvenueThere is a determined congruity to the life of New Yorker Paul LaRosa.

So why have no previous reviews of the CBS News producer’s warm-hearted memoir* pointed to the irony of a kid from ‘Story Avenue’ in The Bronx going on to make writing his prize-winning life’s work? Surely –that’s the real story!

Too obvious? Oh, c’mon, do!  LaRosa’s alma mater was New York’s  Daily News,  which judging by today’s issue (Monday 06 October 2014)  is crammed with the sort of man-eats-dog stuff that continues to make it one of the most widely read tabloids on the planet.

Which reminds me: the newspaper’s previous building featured as the Daily Planet in the first two Superman movies  and its present premises still display the giant globe and meteorological instruments that  triggered the infant  LaRosa’s  dream of becoming a reporter.

But while my tone is flippant, I hold LaRosa in great respect.

After all, we had a shared beginning. While he is an Italian-American Catholic from a poor family and I was born into the British Anglo-Jewish middle-classes, we were both in the final generation of rookie journalists to be trained in hot metal before cold type technology became the norm and changed the industry for ever. Paul.LaRosa

We were also  the last to learn the trade at the ‘university of hard knocks’, before everything was glamorised and became a streamlined profession. But as LaRosa charts his rise and his meetings with celebrities like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (he also worked briefly with her daughter, Caroline) and Joe DiMaggio, it becomes clear that newsrooms are the same everywhere. The biggest hitters invariably have egos to match.

* Leaving Story Avenue - My journey from the projects to the front page is available from

© Natalie Wood (06 October 2014)

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