Center Snapshot: Patrick Lynch
Image above: Patrick Lynch with daughter Anna Kathleen: "How do you describe holding a baby for the first time?" Credit: Molly Lynch
By: Jim Hodges
He spent time on the outside, looking in. Now he's on the inside.
The view is certainly different for Patrick Lynch, a writer with the Science
Directorate at NASA Langley.
"With a newspaper, you cover a broad variety of topics," said Lynch, who
came to Langley from the Daily Press, where he covered the center and also
wrote environmental science and general assignment stories. "With
newspapers, you can't offer as much depth in a story.
"Here, I can have a narrow focus and get deeper into a story. I've found it
interesting so far."
It's been a fast and furious four months for Lynch since leaving the
newspaper. The time was broken in half by the birth of Anna Kathleen, his
and wife Molly's firstborn, on February 7. Life since then has involved Anna
and work, and little else. Grandparents have been in and out and back in
from North Carolina and Indiana. Anna is also the first grandchild for both
"I'm trying to stay away from cliches," Lynch said. "But how do you describe
holding a baby for the first time?"
It's been enough to set aside golf, which he plays reasonably well, and even
his guitar, which he played as often as he could. A group – the "Kneeling
Drunkards," from a Johnny Cash song -- that includes Lynch and the Daily
Press's Sam McDonald and Joe Atkinson has been left high and dry, because
Anna and Molly are too important.
There isn't even time for the occasional "open-mike night" that allowed the
group to vent frustration with the newspaper business.
Like many "reformed" journalists, Lynch watches the ever-shrinking newspaper
world with alarm. There is comfort in that the view is from a distance, but
reports of the demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rocky Mountain
News, plus stories of cutbacks in the business are difficult to absorb.
"It's sad to see what's happening in the industry and to my friends who are
in it," Lynch said. "The time was right for me to get out of the newspaper
business. It's sad to look back and see what it was."
The difference in what he did for the Daily Press and what he does now is
oceans vast. He is able to spend more time on a story and is allowed to
delve into issues more deeply. But, said Lynch, "sometimes I feel a little
guilty walking out at the end of the day without having filed a 20-inch
There's even a difference in the way he can write for the Science
Directorate. Sometimes the writing is more difficult.
"I can be more technical-minded," said Lynch. "I don't want to write so
technically that people won't understand it, but there is a technically
savvy audience here."
One real difference in what he did for the Daily Press and what he does now
for the Science Directorate comes to the fore at this time of year. He ran
the newspaper's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament pool, a natural for a man
who grew up in Indiana.
"I'm in a couple on-line," Lynch said.
That will have to do. Anything more would take time he would rather spend
with Molly and Anna.