Thursday, December 15, 2011

His Gal Friday

My phone does not stop ringing.  My inbox is filled with requests and thank you's and more requests.  Everyone, it seems, is interested in me all over again.... that is, if the media is to be believed. 
Jewish tradition delays the unveiling of a headstone for a year... or 11 months... or after 30 days of mourning.... the point is that there is some precedent for commemorating anniversaries within my heritage.  Our family tradition was 11 months later, it seems to me.  The ceremonies were more private than the funerals; most of the mourners had moved on.
I, however, am in the center of a maelstrom of media madness because these people have not moved on.  That is to say, they are convinced that the rest of you are as fascinated with this story as they are, because at this point the beginning of January is shaping up to be a pretty boring news period and the Tragedy in Tucson headline draws viewers like moths to a flame.

I will say that the only ones who still call me are the ones who were polite.  I think I scared the rest of them off.
But "your friend, Amanda, from the AP" and I spent an hour on the phone today; the first 30 minutes just weren't enough for us.  Amanda embodies what I mean when I tell people that rather than being intrusive, good reporters are good therapists.  They ask the right questions and force you to think. 

Each caller has a different style, an unexpected perspective, an interesting take on an old question that stops me in my tracks.  I enjoy watching them work, trying to keep the connection on a professional-nearly-personal-but-not-friendly basis.  I like the experience of the interview itself.  I think of you, denizens, when I'm there.  I wonder how I can translate my astonishment that the managing editor of our NBC affiliate is delighted to make my acquaintance.  I mean, I know I'm special, but this is ridiculous.

Except that it's not.  It is real.  I spent the better part of an hour with our local NBC anchor today. The mother of two, she totally gets the Christina-Taylor piece of the story and I love listening to her ask the usual questions with real interest, as if she's never asked them before.  I want to give her a good answer and she wants me to succeed.  But my favorite part of the interview happened while the cameraman was shooting the B-roll, the shots that run behind the voice-over.  Before we turned the corner and entered the shot, she reached over and straightened my necklace. It was like hanging out with my girlfriends.

The good reporters make the connection without invading your space.

NPR fulfilled a dream by airing my voice on a segment of All Things Considered.  Though we spent a great deal of time asking and answering questions, most of what you heard was what I thought of as  throw-away comments.  He used the patter of my life instead of the formal pieces.  I think that's why I love the interview so much.  I sound like myself.  I recognize myself.

The Arizona Republic has been extraordinarily gracious in its coverage; did you know that I am an inspirational woman?  Imelda and I are dangerously close to bridging the gap between professionalism and friendship; she even has a blogonym.  But talking to her is like talking to Yoda - she really really listens.

I think that's what I get out of sharing my story with all and sundry.  People are listening.  I hear myself explaining the inexplicable, noticing that they are as interested in the silences as in the words.  Some things cannot be answered... not now, maybe never. The good reporters know that.


1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you are finding the interviews therapeutic. It takes a special type of reporter to come across as caring and sincere. The fact you are getting to deal with these types of reporters is comforting. When they show they care, their reporting is so much better.

    I will try and watch the interviews, but don't know if I can do it without crying. I sobbed and sobbed when I read Roxanna's interview in the Arizona Star in August. It broke my heart and to even think about it now is so hard.

    I loved your NPR interview. You seemed relaxed and yet what you said was so poignant.

    Sending hugs,


    Megan xxx

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