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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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What were you focusing on at Oxford?


What's called P.P.E.: Politics, philosophy and economics. It was sort of a general humanities course -- well, politics, philosophy and economics. Trouble was the economics were 19th century economics, some of the great British economists like Marshall, Pigou and so on, of the 19th century, but I think that I already have discussed that, I think, in the earlier oral history. The philosophy was from Locke, from the 17th century on. And the politics were not really very -- were sort of theoretical politics. It was fun and all that, and it was the best course that an aspiring newspaper man could take. I think it was right.

Anyway, my brother had already arranged for me - see, I had an easy entry into the newspaper world. I was determined long before I even went to college that if I were going to be a newspaper man I assumed that eventually I'd end up with the Times because of the family. But there was one thing I was not going to do, and that was get a job at the Times before I'd at least proved to myself that I could be a newspaper man. And that I was really very adamant about.

And my brother, knowing this, saved me the trouble of looking for a job, because he'd arranged with a friend of his on the Trenton, New Jersey Times, on the basis of my college credentials, to get me a job on the Trenton, New Jersey papers. I can't say that I was upset by that arrangement, but I realized that I was walking in here on the basis of a personal friendship, which made me feel uneasy. But at least I was getting a real honest to God newspaper job. And I started right at the bottom. I did alright, and I think quite well, that

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