Saturday, February 26, 2005

A Good Book and Good Music

I'm currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I heard an interview with the author on NPR and, intrigued, I decided to borrow the book from the library. I'm really enjoying it and getting through it quickly, unlike with Crime and Punishment, which I had to put down after a few weeks of slow going. One day on the train, this man got on the train, sat down across from me, and cracked open his copy of The Shadow of the Wind. I was tempted to ask him if he'd heard the same interview I did, but I didn't think he'd appreciate being interrupted.

Had a fun interview with some of the guys from the band Orange Park this past week. I've been following the band for a few years now and decided to profile them for one of my classes. After awhile, it felt less like an interview than just my hanging out with the band, shooting the shit. It reminded me of something I've been told in my classes, which is that as a reporter, you're not there to become friends with your subjects. You're there to be a reporter, and your obligation is always to your readers. I'm sure there are exceptions to that rule. But I also remembered something Republican "political strategist and media consultant" Russ Schriefer had said in a talk at my school, which is that as reporters, you shouldn't just talk to people you're comfortable with. Otherwise, you miss the stories of all the other people out there.

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5 Comments:

Blogger athena said...

"Shooting the shit," eh? Lol. Do you mean "shooting the breeze?" Or maybe that's a new street term that I'm just not hip to. ^_^ I say with Orange Park, you should make an exception. Afterall, you chose them as a subject because you liked their music, right?

Let me know how your event goes tonight...and whether you hung out with the band like old drinking buddies!

4:46 PM  
Anonymous muscae volitantes said...

i love npr. they have good content, and also i can't stand listening to commercials on the other stations.

5:22 PM  
Blogger mlliu said...

"Shooting the shit" showed up on Google so I decided to use it. "Shooting the breeze" is probably the more common phrase, but I believe both mean the same thing.

Commercials on the radio is one of the few reasons I switched to NPR. That and the way music stations recycle music every hour.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Vivian Darkbloom said...

On the topic of getting chummy with your subjects.... I have this problem almost every time I do an interview. I fall in love with the interviewee--I want to convert to their religion, I want to read everything they wrote and exchange e-mails like old pals, I want to join their radical dance troupe, etc., etc. This is probably a rite for every neophyte reporter, and I know that awareness is the first step toward healing any problem.

I think this is one of the perks of journalism, though: you have an excuse to mine the brains of people you admire and respect. I'm certainly not going to avoid talking to someone just because I'm afraid I might like them too much.

5:29 PM  
Blogger mlliu said...

I guess there are worse things one could experience in their job...

8:29 PM  

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