Monday, May 22, 2006

Journo grads: Here's what they think of you at the NY papers

A Media Guy Q&A With Ian Spiegelman
By Simon Dumenco
Published: May 21, 2006/Advertising Age

Former writer from NY Post's Page Six gossip column discusses his new roman a clef...

Media Guy: You've also got a youthful journalist character in your novel who blithely plagiarizes passages from books and from other journalists. I guess somehow you saw that coming too?

Spiegelman: What I was aiming at in the book was this wave of young, rich, entitled kids who the J-schools and Ivy League English/communications programs have been spewing forth these last few years. They work the weeklies and monthlies because something as pedestrian as a daily newspaper would be too base and, frankly, too difficult for them to handle. They are moneyed brats who come out of school expecting cover stories because everything in their lives has taught them that they deserve attention now, not in a few years. And what they're taught in their incredibly expensive programs never prepares them for anything as run-of-the-mill as dealing with cops, getting files released under FOIA [Freedom of Information Act], or just plain knowing how to question a source. So, because they think they deserve big stories -- since it's been drilled into their heads -- they lie. They invent stories, and they plagiarize other writers. Some 28-year-old shit who thinks she or he has paid her dues when they're still fresh to the business thinks nothing of making up stories.

And you can't even blame the kids. The story no one has reported is that this plague of fake writers and reporters was totally encouraged by their editors and engineered by them. These assholes fall in love with some pretty young thing -- male or female -- and end up writing most of their first stories for them. Once the editor sets them loose, then the stealing starts. There is no way around it. The New York media is so impaled upon the youthful beauty of its youngest, most avaricious writers that nothing else matters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ian spiegelman is actually kind of a douche. have you READ his novel? he is the entitled brat of which he speaks. (i know this because he asked me on a date when i was 19 and he was probably 30.)

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes you a brat for asking out someone younger? Its probably a good thing for him that he didn't get a date with you

3:13 PM  
Blogger TheWanderingArtist said...

I love 21st century education. I just graduated, but I kinda feel like my education didnt set me up for a job. Is that a common feeling among graduates? ?

Thanks, adam

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That feeling is quite familiar for me. But this has as much to do with higher expectations of new hires as it does with quality of education. In many professions, the number of available entry-level jobs is shrinking rapidly, and the ones that are available set the bar much higher than it was only a decade ago. Jobs that used to allow a significant amount of on-the-job learning now require candidates to have much more specific and deeper skillsets the second they walk through the door, and people who don't have the specific skillset are rejected w/o a second thought (more often than not, this is done to just to shrink a pile of 300 applications down to 15 or so who will be interviewed for the single available position).

The problem with the higher education institutions that academics tend to be notoriously reluctant about letting typical grad-level job requirements influence the curriculum. That's how you end up in with a situation where skills that are considered vital by employers are either not taught at all or are taught in electives. Of course, it doesn't help if a large majority of faculty is not up to date with the state of affairs in the industry.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...sigh... When will we get another good juicy story or your book?

This word nerd stuff needs dilution. I read financial reports for a living—I need more drama!

8:29 AM  
Blogger War Bride said...

(I work for the weeklies because I've never taken a journalism class. But, I'm not out of college yet.)

My real reason for leaving a comment is to share an exchange today between me (a junior) and a senior. We were assigned to introduce each other to the class, and one of the questions we had to ask was what the other person would be doing over the summer.

When she asked me, I said, "I write for two newspapers...but it's just freelance."

When she introduced me to the class, she said, "She writes for a newspaper called Freelance."

I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe I assumed that everyone would understand what "freelance" was. Or was she that stupid?

2:59 PM  
Blogger Mike M said...

Well, at the risk of sounding like an old fart, the idea that college along should prepare you for an instant job and instant sucess is perhaps part of the problem and part of the entitlement mentality of which Mr. Speigelman speaks. What ever happend to getting an entry level job and learning the ropes for the first year or two and then advancing up as your job skills grow with experience. I now own my own law firm and am quite sucessful in my chose field of the law. But I certainly didn't possess the abiliity to do that when I left SMU in 1981 or law school in 1984. After getting the basics in school, I paid my dues (a euphamism for learned the art and craft of being good at what I do) and then (and only then) went out on my own. Is there something I'm missing here?

10:30 PM  
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