John Wharton
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Someone had to draw the newspaper when we “played town” in our neighborhood outside of Baltimore. The bigger guys got to be a cop, a fireman or the mayor. Getting Cs or worse on tests and Bs or better on essays throughout high school in Baltimore and at Washington College on the Eastern Shore made seeking out a job as a reporter a reasonable goal. Getting lots of speeding tickets during those school years, and the ensuing familiarity with patrol lawmen and courtrooms, made settling into the beat of covering police and courts another obvious choice. A pair of summer internships at the weekly Talbot Banner in Easton led to a year as the sole staff writer with the Pageland Progressive in South Carolina, followed by three years of covering police, courts and four small towns’ governments for The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., outside the gates of Camp Lejeune. When it was time to come home to Maryland, a job listing in the classifieds prompted a phone call and a ride down Route 2-4 in the spring of 1985 to The Enterprise in St. Mary’s, a trip that ultimately and continuously stands out as one of the best decisions in my life.

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