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How to Swim in Our Sea of Fake News

What matters is keeping your own story strong, lighthearted, and up to date

Hand-written reporter's notes

"Looking back, taking on the president of Random House, the Times, and Cronkite was not a great career move for a journalist. I had to self-publish my book and almost lost my faith in having a career in journalism. Fake news seemed everywhere—and coming from the top."

A couple of years ago, an article in the Boston Globe keelhauled me back to my own “dark night of the soul”—and the origins of S&H: A new artifact is coming to the Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, Massachusetts: a caboose stove, used on the pirate ship Whydah. “We just brought it in last night,” said Barry Clifford, who found the artifact in 2007. Clifford said he found the caboose about 23 years after he discovered the wreck of the Whydah in 1984, and he has preserved it ever since. The Whydah caboose is famous because Henry David Thoreau mentioned seeing it from the beach in his book Cape Cod. I knew about the caboose because of my own book about the Whydah called Walking the Plank. My book has a map of the caboose drawn when it was first discovered by Clifford’s partner, Rob McClung, dated September 21, 1984. Another drawing from 1984 shows the position of the caboose among more than 40 cannons from the pirate ship.  Shortly after the pirate ship hit the sandbar off the beach, the Colonial governor sent Captain Cyprian Southack to salvage the treasure. Southack didn’t find m …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.

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