|Zack Kucharski, executive editor of The Gazette, speaks with MMU students Thursday.|
He wasn’t unexpected—in fact I invited him—but Donald Trump’s appearance wasn’t entirely welcome.
Each spring, my Introduction to Journalism class from Mount Mercy University visits several sites. Thursday was our annual Gazette visit. I usually bike there, but drove this year due to cool, wet weather. We were hosted by Zack Kucharski, executive editor. In addition, we spoke with from Diana Nollen, arts and entertainment writer, and observed a daily meeting of other editors.
In the past, we’ve toured the building and then sat down with Zack and some members of his staff—but The Gazette recently sold KCRG and moved back into its old building, so there is a bit less to see on a tour. No matter, we saw and heard plenty while staying in one room. Zack gave very informative opening remarks. Then Diana came in and shared some anecdotes from her career.
Zack has been with the paper for 16 years, so has quite a memory, but Diana’s history dates back to the year I graduated from college and got my first full-time job as a sports editor for a daily paper in Missouri—1982.
As always, she had interesting anecdotes to share about singers and other celebrities she has interviewed, and some reporting tips for students, such as go ahead and record interviews, but never depend on a recorder. You always need to take notes.
Zack pointed out that you often need those notes not just for when the sound or recording fails, but also to explain the recording—maybe you’ll capture audio of a source saying “this project here is my most complicated work,” and you need the notes to know what she was pointing to when she said “this.”
front page of today's paper.
As it happened, this was not one of those days when a lot changed after the meeting—yet it was kind of cool over my cereal and banana nut bread breakfast this morning to flip through the paper and think, “I remember when they spoke about this story.”
After the meeting, students had an additional chance to ask questions. I posted one to Zack abut Donald Trump—partly, I think, the fact that his campaign manager was charged with assaulting a reporter put the man on my mind, but mostly it’s because Trump supporters seem so deeply distrustful of all the news media.
Zack agreed that the Trump phenomenon represents a challenge to journalists—and a sign that building and keeping trust with the audience is a growing issue. He seemed a bit surprised and taken aback by the whole Trump thing, but I kind of share that same reaction.
|Someone shot this man in Reno, just to|
watch me cry. commons.wikimedia.org, image of
Trump from Reno, 20156, posted by
Darron Birgenheier on flickr.
Anyway, it was, as always, an entertaining visit. I’ve spoken with several students from the class after the fact, and they all seemed to enjoy the visit, too. One of the better writers from the class was just in my office, and, like, me, she really enjoyed sitting in on the meeting, even if she didn’t imagine an action movie. As a class, we’ll debrief at out next session.
So, thanks, once again, Gazette and Zack and Diana. It was fun!