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Journalism is a sprint and a marathon. No one in the NJBIZ newsroom knows this better than Jared Kaltwasser, who completed his first 26-mile race Sunday in the Niagara Falls area with a time of 5:01.36.
It's not surprising that a bunch of the reporters and editors in the NJBIZ newsroom are runners. Journalists must exhibit speed and endurance, and know which one is needed at which moment. The breaking news story is all about speed: finishing first while making sure you actually did finish (your story is accurate, fair and complete before it's posted). The investigative project is the endurance end of the business, slogging along with no idea where the finish line even is, much less when you might get there.
There's the competition aspect too, where the head and heart often do way more than the feet ever could. On the surface with running or journalism, you're trying to beat your competitors—the runners around you or the reporters in another newsroom. But in both, you're really competing with yourself. In running, it's beating your personal best or completing a certain distance. In journalism, it's setting some goal for the year, week, day or even hour, and beating it whether through speed or endurance.
Running a marathon is the ultimate competition with yourself (OK, OK, except for something like an Ironman triathlon where the marathon is just one piece). One of my favorite photos of my father is nearly 30 years old. He is 81 now but ran his first—and only—marathon in his early 50s or so. His goal for the New York City race was to break four hours. The photo is the official one you buy from the New York Road Runners, and my father is crossing the finish line, exhausted yet arms raised, as the clock shows 3:59.58. Knowing my dad, there was no way he was coming in three-hundredths of a second later. Definitely head and heart, not feet, on that finish.
This is all why Jared Kaltwasser is such a good journalist, and runner. He sets goals in both areas, and pulls them off, whether they require speed or endurance. On the journalism side, Jared can do the busting-ass sprint on a breaking news story and show the endurance required to work through the thorniest story on one of the most complicated NJBIZ beats.
Jared will bring all that to Press Row in Trenton, where he will become our new Statehouse reporter, replacing Andrew Kitchenman who is moving on to NJ Spotlight (more on Andrew next week). Jared takes over Nov. 12, moving into the most competitive beat in New Jersey journalism.
Jared will bring his own style to his new beat. I have a few ideas what that will look like, but I'll let Jared unveil it at his own pace.