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I love what the word "newspaperman" — or "newspaperwoman" — implies: someone who knows a lot but lacks pretension; someone who knows how to take names and is unafraid of kicking backsides; someone who knows truth will prove ever elusive but is damn determined to pursue it. The quintessential newspaperman for me was the late Lars-Erik Nelson. He wrote for the New York Daily News and did his best backside kicking in, of all places, The New York Review of Books. No one escaped his verbal scalpel if they deserved it, including The New York Times's treatment of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. I really miss him.

That kind of journalistic courage is difficult to find today. I'm not talking about physical courage, which many good journalists display daily in Iraq and other dangerous places. I'm talking mental toughness, willingness to risk. We have very few Nelsons, few I.F. Stones, few David Halberstams and Neil Sheehans. People I consider courageous are Murray Waas at the National Journal; Dan Froomkin at washingtonpost.com and niemanwatchdog.org; Warren Strobel and several of his colleagues at the Knight Ridder Washington bureau (soon to be the McClatchy Washington bureau); Walter Pincus and Dana Priest of the Post. And, of course, Helen Thomas.





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Murray Waas-- book review
Murray Waas may be the most courageous reporter in Washington DC at present. He goes for the deeper story, and the hidden resources, in order to provide us with the truth--a commodity of rare value in this city.
Pressthink: "Murray Waas is Our Woodward Now"
It should be obvious from the work who the Woodward of Now is. And if it isn’t obvious Greg Sargent can explain it to you over at the American Prospect.

The guy’s name is Murray Waas; he’s an independent journalist who recently went to work as a staff writer for the National Journal and the Atlantic Media Company, which owns the Atlantic Monthly, the Journal, and other titles. Waas has been in the game since he was 18, when he started working for the columnist Jack Anderson.
Talkleft blog: "More Accolades for Murray Waas"
Last week, NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen wrote that investigative Reporter Murray Waas, who has been a ground-breaking scribe on PlameGate since the beginning, is today's version of Bob Woodward in his Watergate days.

Howard Kurtz lauds Murray today in the Washington Post, writing "After a quarter-century in the journalistic shadows, Murray Waas is getting his day in the sun.
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