It's not a good thing to be friends with people you're covering. There's just no point in doing it. It's tempting, but they're not going to consider you their friend anyway. They just know that you're somebody that can do something for them.
Rewriting is a large part of the whole job. And get rid of stuff that's not working. Just pare it down until it's a beautiful thing you can hand in, probably late, to your editor.
So you shouldn't really flatter yourself that they want to be your buddy. They don't. Generally. They want you for some reason or other, and you just have to fend that off all the time.
If your audience is young, it'd be youth culture, if your audience is older, it'd be older people, if it were senior citizens, it'd be senior citizen issues. So you try and hit the target audience.
You find the most important thing that really grabs you, and put it right up top. Don't bury the lead. Put it at the top. Best thing to do. Never go wrong that way. It's an immutable law of journalism. It just always works.
Whomever you're going to interview, you have to be interested in what it is you want to know from them. You have to be interested in the subject.
And so popular culture raises issues that are very important, actually, in the country I think. You get issues of the First Amendment rights and issues of drug use, issues of AIDS, and things like that all arise naturally out of pop culture.
If you ask questions that interest you, you'll get answers that interest your audience.
I spent time in, like, criminal courts, and covering murder trials for papers.
I came over here and worked for rock magazines, and I worked for Rolling Stone, which has a very high standard of journalism, a very good research department.
I worked for a newspaper in Europe for, I lived in Europe for about seven years, so I worked in this sort of a yellow journalism kind of a thing, it was like a scandal sheet.
It's gonna be short if it's news; put it at the top. Style's not an issue, just make it news.
Some of the most important stories don't lend themselves to television treatment.
And the most important thing you can do is learn to edit yourself. And then go back and rewrite.
And you can't really cover people critically that you're friends with.
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