“What always impresses me are the people who are obsessed. People who are gifted, perhaps, but people who are obsessed. And they can’t even imagine themselves doing anything other than covering the political campaign or writing about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan or, for that matter, writing fiction at the level of an Alice Munro or a George Saunders or whoever you happen to like.”

(Grisham? Sparks?)

There you have it. The secret to finally seeing your byline in the New Yorker: be “obsessed.” That, along with those clichéd bits of Advice For Young Journalists, which Remnick also invokes while talking via Mediabistro: hard work (“work like a nut”— again with the be crazy stuff?) and a little luck (“be a little lucky”).

On your marks… get lucky…stalk the story!


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.