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Jul 23 / King Kaufman

Quote of the Day: New Yorker editor says access overrated

Speaking to the subject is the most overrated thing in journalism. I’ve written profiles where you never even meet the person. Janet Flanner wrote an amazing profile of Adolf Hitler. I don’t think there was a lot of Hitler access!
David Remnick

Read Tumblr’s interview with Remnick, the New Yorker editor, about the art of the profile. We’ve also spent some time here on the B/R Blog talking about the pros and cons of access.

  • Ken Kraetzer

    Perhaps what I find most enjoyable about reporting is actually meeting people either on the phone or in person. When I was in college I read in Sports Illustrated that Bill Veeck the legendary baseball entrepreneur then owner of the White Sox prided himself on having an open door policy and answering his own phone. I called him up one day and reached him quite easily, he was a gentleman to speak to and polite in answering my questions for a paper I was writing.

    One of the toughest in person interview situations is talking to the Army football seniors after they have lost against Navy. What do you ask players who played their hearts out and it wasn’t enough, but I wouldn’t have missed seeing and reporting on how they handled themselves.

    Access certainly has to be earned, often by being there on a regular basis. Being at a 7 AM spring practice or being at the games when it snows or rains, or when the game ends at 1 AM shows commitment and the coaches and players respect that.

    Of course sometimes you will not have access to the player you want. More and more teams are building PR screens around the players and coaches. Access to major league players is tough unless you are paid media, (I was told recently that a players’ agent would have to approve a one on one interview). but building a resume of interviews and articles can help earn that day you receive the all important Yes!