magdalena_parker_griff_jenkins.jpgBy Magdalena Parker
8/24/2008

During what has become my ritualistic “I need to de-stress so
I’m going to
take a hot shower” routine, I came to the realization that the interview I
worked so hard to get today was a tough lesson learned. In order to talk to Fox
reporter Griff Jenkins, I not only had to go through Fox Media Relations but I
also had to fight my way through my first media mob. It was no easy task.

Jenkins had spotted controversial Professor Ward Churchill and decided to
approach him in a slightly uncivilized and unjournalistic manner. After he was
shoved out of the way by Churchill’s bodyguards, Jenkins became verbally
aggressive, shouting out questions and demanding an interview with Churchill. I
don’t think he ever got the interview. The entire incident was such a spectacle
that I even read about it in the New York Times. Of course Fox News Channel has
been running clips of it all evening.
I now come to my point about the lesson learned. After the yelling and
quite extensive cursing died down, I decided to ask Jenkins for an
interview. I
had to call Media Relations and get permission, etc. Once this was granted, I
got so excited about talking to him that it didn’t occur to me that he wouldn’t
answer my questions but would talk about something completely different. I’d
have to go back and check my tapes, but I’m pretty sure I asked him how he
personally handles the pressure of mob crowds like the one today. Instead of
answering my question, Jenkins told me how he had become a reporter after being
a producer and camera operator. This was good information but not what I
wanted.
In other words it doesn’t matter whom you’re interviewing, you always have
to remain calm and FOCUSED. My number one on the to-do list for this week is
to LISTEN.
How else am I supposed to become the world’s next best journalist? It
definitely helps knowing how to push through a mob. I can check that off my
to-do list now.