Friday, May 1, 2020


Few of us have exciting careers. Patrick Keeffe is an exception.

For several decades starting in the 1960s, Patrick worked in the field of print journalism. That’s what we call it now; back then, it had a more romantic name – Pat was a newspaperman. Classic movies have been made about such characters.

Pat grew up in the Midwest and first went west to San Francisco to work at several newspapers. Later, he and his wife Linda moved east to New York where Pat worked at several national magazines, like Esquire and Money.

I know Pat and Linda; they’re friends of mine and live in my hometown. When I learned Pat wrote a memoir about his career, I fired up Amazon and bought it (“City Desk: A Reporter’s Journey,” Patrick Keeffe). I recommend the book highly; it’s a lively account of an exciting life.

How exciting? Pat interviewed Neil Armstrong – the first man to walk on the Moon – during which Armstrong corrected the popular, but mistaken quotation about the words he spoke on that historic occasion. Pat reported on a 5.1 earthquake he experienced himself, as well as a major fire in an underground train system. Pat profiled a famous mountain climber who scaled Mount Everest. He even shook Bill Clinton’s hand when Clinton was President.

Best of all, Pat tells stories. The wild tales that were common in newsrooms back then. Once, a co-worker was fact-checking a story on Marlene Dietrich and called the famous actress on her private line. “For a long moment, there was silence on the line. Then Dietrich said, ‘Tell your editor to go fuck himself’.”

How did a young man with no contacts break into a glamorous field? Persistence. At the outset, Pat offered to work for free. When editors saw the quality of his writing, they felt guilty and starting paying him. Then, throughout his career, Pat met colleagues who referred him to others with job opportunities and spoke highly of him. That’s how a career is built.

There’s a lot to learn and be entertained by in Pat’s book. Buy a copy or ask me and I’ll lend you mine.


  1. That is so cool that you know him - it's a really neat sounding book, I'm definitely going to check it out!

  2. How cool! Sounds like he had a very adventurous career!

    Thank you so much for your recent letter - it was a spot of sunshine in my day. :)

  3. My dad just recommended I Am the Night (dealing with George Hodel and Fauna Hodel and tangentially the Black Dahlia) and Chris Pine plays a very determined journalist who was dramatized for the show - but it looks like his character was based on a very real determined set of people looking to tell big stories!

    I'm glad your friend was seen for his talent. Sometimes all the persistence and talent bursts out of a person and BOOM they change the world.

    (P.S. go watch I Am the Night if you haven't!)

  4. That is so cool that you knew him! I ADORE interesting people to talk to like this with so many stories. It reminds me of my family friend Norma who died a couple of years ago. She worked for the BBC for their Sound Archives department and she had SOOOO many interesting stories! Oh how I miss her!x

  5. It's very apt, I feel that you'd write about your newspaper reporter friend with us, Ally, as I've long thought you yourself would have made for a stellar report. You have a direct, witty, engaging style of writing and I've always enjoyed the profiles - be they of fellow bloggers, celebrities, or anyone else - that you've shared with us over the years.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life