Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Redoubtable Harold Anybody

Harold Anybody got his nickname after founding the Anybody Daily, an underground newspaper that read like anything but an underground newspaper, or any other newspaper. He had founded it, naturally, based on his disgust with the state of journalism, both in print, online, and television. He liked aspects of what he saw in all these mediums, but he couldn't for the life of him figure out why it was so hard for any of them to get it all right, all in one form.

So he set up the Anybody Daily, with the intent to deliver and interpret the news, but not just what was happening, what was by the very loose definition "news." He also strove to return the business of the news to investigate, not to push certain agendas, but to literally crack the news that otherwise would never have been reported. He wanted and believed in the concept that news was a business to be taken seriously, and not something to be mailed in, or used to forward personal interests.

He assembled a team of crack journalists, some of whom he would otherwise have been dissatisfied with, but with the proper amount of supervision, he could ensure that they would do the job, as he saw it, exactly the way it should be done.

Now, to protect his identity, Harold never publicly revealed his last name. He called it a challenge fit for anyone who would otherwise have been fit to fill his own shoes, but since he alone had been able to, no one deserved to know the last bit of truth that would truly be worth something, but remain a scoop that would forever be just out of the grasp of the grand tradition and ambition that was reporting the news.

People took to calling him Harold Anybody because, naturally, it seemed appropriate, and it also sounded pretty good. He, of course, only scoffed at the name, and laughed it off as the last vestiges of the old regime, when it would be possible to hide the truth in plain sight, to be buried right in the middle of all the arbitrary reporting that had once been considered the news. He never allowed his newsroom to associate itself with the amateur ranks of tabloid journalism, the sensationalism that had threatened to end the news as relevant, to hand the territory over to celebrity and personal gossip, the realm of social networks.

The harder he worked, the less he had to work, and the more popular the Anybody Daily became. Begun in print, it soon expanded to digital platforms and into television, but always with a controlled, measured content with dedicated reporters. Harold himself began to fade into the background. The name Harold Anybody became a figurehead, something to add legitimacy, a rallying call, to the whole revolution. Some speculated that he had died years before he really did, but then, he had also implanted standing orders that an obituary never run on his person, even though he had revamped that whole realm as well, running entire sections on the lives of the departed, instead of worthless blurbs that hardly said anything about the diseased.

Long after his time, several generations, many decades, even a century later, the Anybody Daily continued, but there were other, equally honest papers and newsgroups, doing the same work Harold Anybody had championed. Harold himself eventually became forgotten, and many of his reforms were lost over time. When the status quo had finally come full circle, a book was published, titled simply Anybody, anonymously written by perhaps his last disciple, or some tradition that had been preserved, a cult, reminding the world of what had once again been lost.

And sometime after that, another Harold Anybody rose...

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