Editor’s note: This month, we bring you brief reminders from pros around the world about what or who helped them forward in their careers.

My editor at the City News Bureau of Chicago, my first real, full-time journalism job, who told me as I stood in the freezing cold on a payphone delivering apparently unsatisfactory details for a story on an art heist: “You have to have some goddamn natural curiosity.” It taught me to use my brain.

Also a Wall Street Journal editor who liked to say, “Reporting is a series of human interactions,” which taught me that it’s useful to talk to sources about things we had in common like sick kids, happy dogs and other human stuff.

Dionne Searcey ~ reporter, The New York Times

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