What a whirlwind week: Eight days in New York City, which truly never sleeps.
I had the honor of joining 76 other editors, publishers, writers and educators in Columbia University's School of Journalism (in the Joseph Pulitzer World Room!) to judge Pulitzer Prize entries in 14 journalism categories. Each of us took an oath of confidentiality, but suffice it to say that hundreds of journalists are producing damn good journalism -- both online and in print. The quality of what we read over just a few days was exhilarating, challenging and motivating.
And the setting? Columbia's sprawling campus is classic, filled with the spirits of thousands of gifted scholars, writers and thinkers who have walked those halls. One of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the country, the university's roots predate the American Revolution.
And as you walk out of the gates, a subway station on Broadway beckons to whisk you off to the best in music, theater, dining... and history. So much of our national scrapbook is created in that town. Words are defined by the streets and parks and venues stretched from the Upper East Side through SoHo and on to Brooklyn. This also was my first visit to Ground Zero -- an experience even more moving and humbling than we could have imagined.
Today, most of us are back at our real jobs, writing or reporting or editing across the country. My biggest reality check: More than 2,000 emails to be sorted, even with the out-of-office gizmo turned on! My biggest challenge: to hold onto that New York adrenaline and inspiration -- and not let the little town blues take hold.