So... what's his story?
For those outside the Des Moines reading area, this post may not mean much, but I would encourage you to read it anyway. A Des Moines icon passed away yesterday, fighting a long battle with ALS. His name is Rob Borsellino. He was a reporter for The Des Moines Register. Fifteen years ago, none of us Iowans had ever heard of this brash New Yorker who was about to squirm his way into our lives, our thoughts, and our conversations.
Some of you may be saying, "OK, one less reporter in the world... and this affects me how?" Rob was more than just a reporter. His op ed and human interest pieces were as close to perfect story telling as it gets in the journalistic realm. I can only aspire to have my writing compared to Rob's some day. He had a style - a brand - all his own, and he wore it proudly. Steve Farber would call somebody like Rob a "story learner" rather than a story teller, because that's what Rob was. He learned the heart of a story and just got out of the way to become a vehicle through which the story was told. With heart. With compassion. With sensitivity. Sometimes with bite. Rob was a journalist, and a self-proclaimed liberal journalist at that, but to be honest, Rob put meaning and punch into the term "fair and balanced" long before Fox News exploited it to their own gain.
Those of us in the blogosphere are all story-tellers of one category or another. I would challenge any of you reading this post to purchase Rob's book, "So I'm talkin' to this guy..." You will see what real story learning is all about. And you will see darn fine writing. And you will see journalistic integrity. And you will see a misplaced New Yorker who came to love Des Moines, with all its quirks. Rob's pen is silenced, but his legacy is written in the sky. To his family, my deepest sympathy. He will be missed.