Monday, December 28, 2015

Journalism 101

People often ask me, “Mark, how did you get your job since you seem to lack competence in even the most basic of skills?”  Well, it’s a simple formula.  It’s 2% hard work, 2% spelling ability, 5% having access to a good spell-check program on word processor, and 91% this helpful kit.  Let’s break down the steps…

* I used to use an A5 white lockable journal, but it wasn’t until I upgraded to the A6 that my career really took off.  My first day in the press box, my peers were like “only a total moron would use an A5, that’s amateur hour,” and I kept my mouth shut to avoid being shunned from day one.  (I ended up being shunned anyway due to my body odour, though that’s another story for another time.)  Also, if you have a journal without a lock, you’re just asking for trouble.  You may as well walk around with your e-mail password tattooed on your forehead.

* Nothing is worse than when your pen runs out of ink while taking notes during a key interview or press conference.  With a glitter gel pen, however, you can simply crack it open, pour the gel on your notepad and use it to keep transcribing.  You’ll get extra time to transcribe since the interview subject will naturally stop and ask what the hell you’re doing.

* A big part of journalism is cultivating and getting information from sources.  Outright paying for information is a no-no, of course, though a little bribery isn’t entirely frowned upon.  For instance, giving your source a lovely confetti flower in exchange for a big scoop brightens everyone’s day.  The only downside is that confetti flowers don’t smell as nice as real flowers, so you can’t use them yourself to mask the body odour that hypothetically makes one a pariah in the press box.

* If it’s a really big scoop, forget the flowers and upgrade to a gemstone.  That source is worth it.  Who can forget that immortal scene from All The President Men when Bernstein gives Deep Throat an emerald for all of his great work.

* Nobody wants to be just one of a dozen anonymous scribes holding a tape recorder in the middle of a press scrum.  If your recorder is covered in sequins, it’ll definitely stand out and make your subject pay closer attention to your questions.  (Or, it’ll get them to ask you a question, i.e. the aforementioned “what the hell are you doing?”)  Also, if it turns out your recorder was out of battery power and you missed an entire interview, you can drown your sorrows by huffing some glue.

* Pro tip: glitter glue is not nearly as good for huffing purposes.  It just makes the inside of your nose look like Rip Taylor.

* It may seem like your idea booklet and your A6 white lockable journal are pretty similar but they are COMPLETELY AND ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.  If you write an idea into your journal,  the lock snaps shut and you have to go on a vision quest to obtain an ancient key to open it.  If you write anything besides an idea into your idea booklet, it bursts into flame.  This may sound dangerous, but you actually have quite a bit of leeway since pretty much anything can be an idea.  If you write ‘turnip car’ into your booklet, for instance, that technically counts.  (Though just to be safe, you should probably stick a question mark at the end of everything — turnip car?)

If you purchase this kit, you’ll be winning Pulitzers, eating unhealthily and wearing pleated khakis in no time. 

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