At the time, I was a cub reporter in Aspen, full of ideals but without much experience—professional or otherwise. Thompson was already a nationally known author and political/social commentator, who was still healthy and years away from giving in to his demons.
During one of our conversations at the unofficial office—the bar next door to the newspaper where I worked—I complained about being the lowest man on the totem pole. He took umbrage and said that’s exactly where you want to be. People will still trust you, and they give you the best stories.
It was true, and, to this day, my best stories were the ones I got as a rookie reporter.
I was reminded of Thompson’s career advice recently when I came across a blog that reprinted his 1958 cover letter for a job as a reporter at the Vancouver Sun.
One salient paragraph of the cover letter reads: