When I was a reporter, I would try to incorporate Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics into my articles whenever I could.
Now, I never altered a story to fit the lyrics and out more than 1,000 articles I wrote in my journalism career, it only happened about twice. One was an article about cities that suffer from brain drain as youth flee to bigger cities in search of education, jobs, opportunities. In that one, I quoted, “Born to run.”
I also composed many of my articles while listening to Bruce. I’d put on my headphones and make sense of all of my data gathering while jamming away. The music helped me to focus and to feel lighter than I am, which enabled me to think faster and meet deadline.
Not only do I adore Springsteen’s music, I relate to it. Which creates a deeper connection than simple enjoyment. (My family hails from the same county in New Jersey that he does, and I have cousins who grew up in his hometown. But I think that his fans, no matter where they are from, universally share a connection to his music.)
Today, I wonder if my affinity for Springsteen’s music had an effect on how my articles shaped themselves. Did it influence me by making me write according to some theme of which I was not consciously aware? Would an analysis of my articles reveal a Springsteen bias?
New York Times columnist David Brooks, in an editorial that is half reflection-on-life and half ode-to-Springsteen, explores how Springsteen contributed to his non-formal education. He also remarks that our non-formal education contributes more to our happiness than what we learn in the classroom. I encourage you to check it out.