"How much presidential political trivia do you know?" a Sun reporter asked me shortly after I joined The Evening Sun in 1989.
"Not much," I admitted cheerfully.
I was a second-generation hire at The Baltimore Sun, a fact I had managed to conceal until the final rounds of my job interview. I wasn't particularly honorable, but nepotism had failed to work for me in my eight-year campaign to get a job at my hometown paper, so I had switched up my tactics.
My father, Theo Lippman Jr., had been at The Sun since 1965. Perhaps inevitably, his co-workers assumed I would be a chip off the old editorial-writer block, which was pretty...