In my more than four decades as a journalist, this never happened to me. Until tonight.
I was talking with friends at Chicago’s legendary Billy Goat Tavern about journalism’s mission. The Goat’s a tourist attraction most famous for its inspiration of a Saturday Night Live skit; by virtue of its location between the home of the Chicago Tribune and the former home of the rival Sun-Times, it’s also a hangout for media types.
I was ranting about the usual: How journalists have a responsibility to bring cynicism to bear against whomever’s in power, how not enough was brought to bear against previous presidents, how Donald Trump’s presidency has made the work all the more important.
At the next table, a couple of women sat, engaged their own conversation. I hardly noticed them—until, as they got up to leave, one walked over and asked, “Excuse me, but are you journalists?”
I explained that we’re all in the media business in one form or another.
And then—in an earnest tone more commonly reserved for soldiers, police, firefighters—she said, “I just want to thank you.”
On behalf of reporters everywhere, I was happy to accept.
And thank you, President Trump.