How Deep Throat helped send me to law school

Deep Throat’s self-outing has me thinking today about how he – and Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate reporting – helped send me to law school.

The Watergate break-in took place on the very day I turned 18, a summer away from starting college and pursuing my goal of becoming a newspaper reporter. At the end of my second college year, the book, All the President’s Men, came out, and two years later, as I was about to graduate into the journalism job market, the movie was released. Seemingly overnight, everyone wanted to be Woodward and Bernstein. It didn’t matter that I’d aspired to a newspaper career well before Watergate, jobs were hard to come by.

I spent the year after college putting out a small, inner-city newspaper in Springfield, Mass. I was editor, reporter, ad salesman, typesetter, paste-up person and delivery boy. I kept looking for a job at a “real” newspaper – one where reporters got paid. To make enough money to get by, I drove a delivery truck in the mornings. Halfway through that year, I visited my former college journalism advisor and announced that I’d decided to go back for a master’s in journalism. His reply, “Don’t go to journalism school. You already know how to write and report. Get a degree that will teach you something about the world.” What, I asked, political science, sociology? “My suggestion,” he replied, “law school. Law touches everything you might cover as a reporter – government, business, crime, you name it.” Until then, I had never thought of law school, but the more I thought about his advice, the more sense it made.

So if not for Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein might never have become the heroes they were. There might not have been a book or movie. I might have had an easier time out of college landing a newspaper job. Paycheck in pocket, I might never have gone to law school. And without law school, I would never have landed the wonderful newspaper jobs I’ve had. Thanks, Deep Throat.