Kara Swisher gives a master class on reporting and interviewing – The Ezra Klein Show
I’ve already learned a lot about journalism from Swisher’s Recode/Decode podcast, which I only started listening to recently. Swisher interviews Silicon Valley luminaries. I’ve also learned from interviews of Swisher, including this one by Vox’s Ezra Klein.
If you want to be a journalist, or you just want to talk to people, you should listen to this. Swisher is also an excellent, hilarious storyteller who has lived an incredible, strange life. You really, really don’t want to miss the story of how she became part of a sexual harassment lawsuit against John McLaughlin, and why he thanked her for stabbing him “in the front.”
Her advice on staying in touch with sources even when you’re not working on a story was advice impressed upon us when I took journalism classes back in the pre-Internet Pleistocene mid-80s. I’ve never been good at it; one of my top priorities for 2017 is to be great at it. I want to be in regular touch with anybody I interview who seems capable of doing more than reading from a PowerPoint presentation. Of course, I’ll have to get around the PR people, who stand in a phalanx, arms linked, between me and the people I want to talk with. That’ll just make it more fun.
Swisher also makes a very good point about Trump. Very loosely paraphrased: Most of what comes out of his mouth is stupid and appalling. But every once in a while he says something true that nobody in power is saying. My favorite example is from the first Clinton debate, where Trump said the US government is running a half-trillion dollar deficit and yet STILL the US’s infrastructure is like a Third World country. If our dams, bridges, airports, and interstate transport systems were gleaming examples for the world to follow, we could say, gosh, the government sure spends a lot but it’s worth it. Sadly, that is not the case.
I have at least one friend who I think may no longer be talking to me because I agreed with Trump about something earlier.
Swisher also says social media is bad for the world, and not going to get better.
Swisher is inspiring.