Archive for February 2009

The Rest of the Story

February 28, 2009

paul-harveyThe first famous person I ever interviewed was ABC Radio News commentator Paul Harvey, and it was a disaster of an interview.

I was an 18-year-old aspiring journalist in his first year at Baylor University, and Harvey was in town to give a speech. A photographer and I went to his hotel room, having been promised 15 minutes with him.

I’ve never known someone to talk so fast and nonstop. I hardly got a question in, and when I looked at my notebook back in the newsroom, I had written about three dozen starts of sentences and not a single conclusion to a sentence. I didn’t have a single complete direct quote to use!

Still, it was a thrill as a teenager to interview Paul Harvey, whose daily commentaries and “The Rest of the Story” segments were heard by an estimated 22 million people a week.

He had an idiosyncratic delivery with dramatic pauses and a folksy style. He’d begin with “Hello Americans, I’m Paul Harvey. You know what the news is. In a minute, you’re going to hear … the rest of the story.” After telling us about someone who had done something ridiculous, Harvey would say “He would want us to mention his name” and then have a deliberate moment of silence before starting the next item.

Paul Harvey died today at the age of 90.

South of the Border

February 1, 2009
photo in public domain

El Angel photo in public domain

The Associated Press bureau in Mexico City overlooks El Ángel — the monument to Mexican independence that is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.

As a former AP editor stateside, I enjoyed touring the modern AP headquarters that provide coverage of Latin America to the world. Bureau Chief Traci Carl was generous with her time in describing to a small group of us how 16 AP reporters cover Mexico today, with news copy in both English and Spanish.

Mexico certainly needs the intervention of an angel right now. Carl says a common saying in Mexico is that when the United States catches a cold, Mexico gets the flu.

The economies of both nations are sick, and Mexico also faces escalating plagues of drug trade and violence. “Police say they are outgunned,” Carl told us. “Mexico has restrictive gun laws, but guns are being smuggled across the border from the U.S.”

Mexico City was the destination for the winter workshop of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, which consists of deans and other program leaders. The theme was understanding journalism and communication practices and higher education in Mexico.