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Exposing journalism’s seedy underbelly

Posted by on May 16, 2007

I had my first press conference today. (“Why are you holding a press conference?” a confused friend asked, but no. Attended my first press conference.) Here are some of the things I learned:

Your word is good enough for us.

All I had to do to score a press kit was to walk up and say I was a member of the press. Do I have a press pass? Business cards? A sharp fedora? Shoes that cover my entire foot? No. But I guess I look intrepid enough.

I did see a few of the reporters sporting laminated passes around their necks, but the rest of us sneered at them. Total overkill, man.

What do you do while you wait for the damn thing to start?

Smoke. (It was held on the steps of City Hall. More on that later.) If you know the other reporters, you can also nod, or verbally greet if you are a little uncool. You can tell who’s in charge because she’s the only one moving at a rapid speed and looking invested.

Where is C.J. Cregg?

C.J. Cregg was nowhere in sight, much to my dismay.

But it was still totally professional, right?

The event began with slam poetry. Also, after every speaker, all the reporters applauded. Some cheered. I was confused: aren’t we supposed to be detached? Danny Concannon never applauds.

Which kind of ties into a broader theme…

Entertainment. I always knew the news as it stands today is intended to entertain the masses, but I didn’t realize that events like this are also intended to entertain the reporters. There was a weird double entertaining going on.

First they grouped all the reporters behind the podium. Then the speakers also stood behind the podium and talked to the five or ten reporters and photographers left in front. I have no idea why they massed us up there. Was it for the photos, so it would look like a bunch of scruffy, smoking, poorly-shod community members had showed up to support the cause?

Then there was the whole business of holding the conference on the steps of City Hall. I’m sure this was also for the photo op, as if this problem was just now bursting out of the Halls of Government and into the public eye. Unfortunately, it did open the event to one really determined heckler, who persistently out-shouted the microphoned speakers. The speakers got more and more angry. We reporters kind of giggled and looked at our flip-flops.

The event closed with a dance performance, which probably won’t make it into any of the articles or sound bites. Although you never know.

Well, at least YOU were professional, right?

On the way there, I passed a sidewalk book sale in front of the library. I kept on walking. It’s called a work ethic, people. (I did stop on the way back, though. I’m only human.)

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