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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watching the inauguration

It takes a special occasion for the newsroom to be not only quiet, but free of wisecracks. Staffers from throughout the building gathered in front of the newsroom TV. What an inspirational, intelligent speaker President Obama is. A fine, strong speech, in content and delivery, and 20 minutes to the second. How moving to see the Mall packed with people of all ages and backgrounds, determined to brave the cold to be present for this historic moment.
I listened not just as a citizen but as a newspaper editor, tuned in for a snippet that would make a good front page headline. Missing from the speech, I think, was a catchphrase. But he had some headline-worthy lines: We are ready to lead once more. Our patchwordk heritage is a strength, not a weakness. The question is not whether government is too big or too small, but whether it works. To nations that deny human rights: We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. To leaders who sow conflict: Your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. How far we have traveled. Unity of purpose. Reaffirm our enduring spirit.


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