Editorial: A face fit for print


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A couple of weeks ago the edict came down from on high: “Thou must do weekly web site videos . . . featuring you.” Or words to that effect.

For a print hack this was pretty much the most terrifying order I could be/have been given in the classified number of years since I first dipped my toe into journalism. After all, print writers are just that. Print. Writers. I felt like a gazelle being taken down on the Serengeti.

While I have always had great respect for broadcasters (and more so lately) there had always been a line; they do what they do and we do what we do. And so, for print types that is what I call secret squirreling: going out and gathering the dirt, scurrying back to our desks, and hunkering down behind our computers to write. Sure, some print people are

comfortable moving into the broadcast arena as commentators or to yak about their stories. But I’m not.
I have never pretended to be talented in broadcasting, much less comfortable. Yes, it’s okay to have my byline out there for anyone to see atop the stories I create.

And any print journo who claims they don’t get a rush upon seeing their name on the front page is a liar - even after a classified number of years in the business. But see, my way is to a degree, anonymous.

As a reporter for a daily newspaper I reveled in the writing; not so much however when they insisted on running my logo picture alongside my prose. Toiling in name recognition is fine for me; the same can’t be said for facial recognition.

While I’m unaware of a childhood trauma involving a cunning camera stealing my soul, I just don’t enjoy the picture-taking. And I believe I’m not alone in this feeling as a scribe. It’s a similar phenomenon to the one where if you yell a mathematical question in a print newsroom, the reporters turn into an oil painting. We don’t do math. We’re writers.

This is by no means a suggestion that TV and radio types don’t write. Sure they do. But they also know how to read or say what they’ve written into cameras or mikes. I don’t. Although I have become inured to reading my editorial in an audio version that lives on our web site under the cute pink button. (Shameless plug.)

That brings us to “The Paper Chase,” the new Law Times weekly sneak peek at what’s behind the headlines. I decided I’d give it a go.

So, entertaining fantasies of having my own makeup artist, wardrobe mistress, and forgiving lighting, I arrived for my close-up. Within minutes I was perched on the edge of a desk, under sharp-fanged fluorescent lights (the choice of the newsroom and not the studio was my brilliant idea), and done in two takes!

I cringe every time I see it, but I understand the world is changing and we all - lawyers included - must adapt. And so, while I suffer no illusions that I’m Katie Couric, this is an invitation to visit our new feature that was put together by terrific Team Video: Jim Stubbington and Bill Hunter.

A diva is born? Oh you so know it.
Now, I have one question: who voted my premiere video less than five stars? I can track these things down now you know . . .
- Gretchen Drummie

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