the other side of journalism

for the first time in my life, i’m on the other side of journalism. i’ve been interviewed twice for the kiddie day parade i’m organizing, and each interview made me laugh. i wonder if the two reporters had any idea they were interviewing a journalist.

interview no. 1 was for the bartow neighbor. you can see the story here. the reporter broke one of the cardinal rules of journalism: always ask the person how to spell his or her name. even if the name is john smith, it could be spelled jon smyth. many of you know i have a very different name. most people spell my name katie. she also used courtesy titles but didn’t ask me which one i preferred. that mistake is probably the one i got caught doing the most at the chattanooga paper. i know it’s easy to forget, but it’s something i pick out. she also didn’t use any direct quotes, even though i gave her plenty. direct quotes really add to a story. and, she attributed inane things to me, such as the time the parade starts. every reporter knows, or should know, that you only attribute things that are not facts.

let’s move on to interview no. 2. i just got off the phone with the features editor for the main newspaper here in town. this interview was much worse than the first. her first question was, “how many years has kiwanis been hosting this event?” that would be a great question if i hadn’t already sent her the flyer (which she referenced) that said “the 52nd annual kiddie day parade. she asked me about some of the other projects we do, and i mentioned the scholarships we give out every year and the pizza party we do every month at the children’s shelter. her response: “so that pizza party, is it once a month or once a year?” seriously? wow. then, she too didn’t ask me how to spell my name. it better be correct. she was on the phone with me for about two minutes, so i’m expected a very short story.

the level of journalism in this town is astounding.

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Hi! I’m a wife to a wonderful husband, mom to a beautiful and active (to put it lightly) kiddo, and fur-mom to 3 crazy cats. I’m a former journalist. I quit my full time job two years ago. Now, I am a freelance writer and a virtual assistant for several bloggers!

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  1. Tara says:

    I wouldn’t quibble too much about her asking how many of these things they’ve had. I can’t tell you how many press releases I’ve gotten that had the wrong year on it.

    And I’m surprised you didn’t say, “Let me tell you how to spell my name.” I would have. That’s the only way they’ll learn, too.

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