Thursday, February 18, 2016


My grandmother, God rest her soul, influenced me greatly. She was (among many other things) a stringer for the Chattanooga Times, the parent and then later a subsidiary of the New York Times and the occasional plaything of Adolf Ochs:

At the age of 19, he borrowed $250 from his family to purchase a controlling interest in The Chattanooga Times, becoming its publisher... In 1896, at the age of 38, he was advised by The New York Times reporter Henry Alloway that the paper could be bought at a greatly reduced price due to its financial losses and wide range of competitors in New York City.[5]

Fascinating story, but I digress... :-)

At any rate he became the publisher of NYT but still regularly visited Tennessee, resulting in the eventual employment of my grandmother to report to the Times about events in Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee, for which she was paid a few cents per inch of published material... I helped her cut out the printings and glue them to a page to mail off so she could be paid, by the inch...

She taught me early on about the five W's:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why


How to garner the most amount of information in the least amount of words... Lead type and paper were expensive...

These are a corollary to the principle of Entropy espoused in Information Theory. The formula:

    E = mc²

is the epitome of high entropy: all the physical information of the universe condensed into five little characters...
Entropy irritates some, but it pleases others, because you are imparting volumes of valuable knowledge without wasting their precious time.

Although it may be drinking from a firehose: they do need to think about it for themselves... :-(