Journalism depends on readers. No surprise.
One of the greatest things that ever happened to me is meeting and marrying an amazing reader. When I met Michelle in college, she would read every spare minute she could. Not just textbooks, but pleasure reading.
Many people can attest to the fact that there were even occasions when my roommates and I had a few guests over, were enjoying some music and beverages, and Michelle still found a way to huddle near a lamp with a good book. She wasn't ignoring the rest of us. She was always happy to stop to engage in conversation; but she wasn't going to waste an entire night like the rest of us.
Michelle's reading influence wore off on me eventually.
As a journalist, I was constantly reading at work. Mostly, I left reading as an activity I did on the job.
As Michelle moved into her real passion as a librarian, she brought home books for me. It started with John Irving novels, then extended to John Steinbeck and many others. For a while I had a John complex that extended to Jon Krakauer, as well.
My pleasure reading expanded. I felt comfortable spending my time with a book.
Reading is the single best thing I have done over the last 20 years to make me a better person, journalist, father, husband, teacher, and friend.
If you want to help secure the future of journalism, foster a reader. Encourage your spouse, children, friends and family to read.
Today marks the opening of Michelle's Little Free Library. It sits in our front yard, with books from our bookshelves.
The books are no longer inside our house, where we can only share them with visitors. Soon, when the ground isn't so frozen, I will put in a post near the sidewalk and mount the library right out front.
For now, it's on a table on our porch. Still, we hope passersby, whether friends, neighbors or strangers, feel welcome to peruse the tiny shelves for reading material.
We have been asked: "What if someone steals your books?"
Our answer: "Maybe they will read them. Then we will put more out there."