Paul LaRosa has written a breezy memoir so authentic that you can almost hear the clacking of those oversized typewriters that reporters of a certain age may recall with nostalgia, part of a time when you cultivated speed, clarity and accuracy on deadline without benefit of a delete button.
That was the kind of place LaRosa walked into when he landed a job in 1975 as a copyboy at the New York Daily News, with the warning that he had a one in 10 chance of making it to reporter. The News city room, populated with Runyonesque characters, thrived on its own electric madness; many veteran reporters cursed loudly, drank booze at their desks, smoked incessantly and hurled wisecracks like characters from the “The Front Page.” LaRosa nails this twilight era of American newspapers with the aplomb of the awarding-winning journalist he became, first at the News, then at CBS.
He also writes vividly about his early years, living in the Monroe Houses in the Bronx, attending a strict Catholic high school and overcoming his shyness, in part by learning to kibitz with customers at the Third Avenue Deli, where he worked after school. LaRosa tells his tale with a justified Horatio Alger pride. With talent and hard work, he did beat those 10-to-1 odds.
Vince Cosgrove is a freelance writer from Berkeley, Calif.
Causes Paul LaRosa Supports
my grade school and high school