Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chuck Klosterman dissects a newsroom

Went to Chuck Klosterman's talk tonight at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. First off, thank you UPC for putting this together. Klosterman's talk was like reading one of his essays: funny, a few nuggets of brilliant, analytical thinking and some Tesla references thrown in. I'll just focus on his basic breakdown of the personalities of a newsroom...

The Sports Reporters
When asked about his experiences working with different beats and the personalities of the reporters that cover those beats, Klosterman said that regardless of the beat, the personality of a dedicated reporter is fairly similar. That said, sports reporters tend to be a bit more self-righteous than usual. When the Duke lacrosse scandal broke, sports commentators were all over writing pieces moralizing about how this is a symbol of society's decay. Despite this moralizing, they're fairly laid back, much like...

Music Reporters
A laid back bunch as well - but probably the most obsessive lot of reporters you'll encounter. They will put as much importance behind an argument about the best Beach Boys song as historians will argue over what military battle had the most significant impact in American history.

Business Reporters
Probably the most bitter bunch of reporters you'll encounter. And why not? Klosterman said when he was writing arts and entertainment stories, his desk right next to the business reporters. While Klosterman was interviewing people who were trying their best to come off as authentic, business reporters spend day after numbing day dealing with a brick wall called public relations for companies. In essence, they spend their days fighting to get the truth and having to go through a department that will only spill their version of the truth to the reporter.

Copy Editors
Extremely intelligent. Extremely lonely. They come in at around 2 p.m. Leave at around midnight. In between, reporters are out trying to get people's life experiences and put them in the paper while copy editors sit in an enclosed environment, sealed off from that life, fact-checking and obsessing over layouts and two-column decks. When they get off work, they're naturally too wired to go to bed, so they either close a bar down or go home and chat with a girlfriend from Sweden online. The rest of the night is spent on the couch, watching bad TV, 'cause if you're in a relatively small town, what else is there to do at 4 in the morning when most of your friends are asleep? They get to bed around 9 a.m. - wake up about a half-hour before work and repeat that cycle again.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home