When journalists interview people, it's more often than not about something very specific. When we interview the governor, his press person would definitely give us a dirty look if we threw in questions like, "What's your favorite '90s boy band?" or, "Did OJ do it?" We're there to discuss something specific, and straying too far outside that topic is viewed as either a waste of the interviewee's time or an invasion of privacy.
The reality is that there are more facets to the people we interview than we'll ever know. What was Senate Chef Daniel Wright's favorite toy when he was a kid? What does CityBeat editor-in-chief Danny Cross order at Taco Bell?
The answers to questions like these don't define a person, but neither do their jobs, possessions, political leanings, philanthropic efforts or social status. It's a little bit of everything. In this blog series, I'll be picking random Cincinnatians who are doing something interesting, call them on the phone/harass them on the street and ask five or six weird questions and hope I don't get yelled at. Feel free to comment if there's someone you'd like to suggest.
As a practice go, I'm first interviewing my cubicle mate and reporter extraordinaire, German Lopez.
you don’t recognize the name German Lopez, it’s because you probably never read
CityBeat, so shame on you. Around the office, he's known for his dry sense of humor, really liking donuts, ditching all of our happy hours and one time writing almost an entire issue by himself. He's the one we all go to when we need him to explain in plebeian language the meaning of complicated political and economic data.
Hannah McCartney: What's your favorite most recent viral video?
GL: There are a bunch of answers to this, but the top choice is probably Wonkblog, the domestic policy blog at The Washington Post. It has all the studies and graphs I need to form an educated opinion on major political issues. And CityBeat.com, of course.
HM: What website can you not go a day without checking? Why? GL: On
the couch at home while surrounded by my ferrets, cat and husband. But I
usually read political blogs, newspapers and e-books on my iPad instead
of actual print. HM: Where's your favorite place to sit down and read a book in Cincinnati? GL:
Chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes and corn. It was freaking
delicious. But I rarely cook for myself. One of the upsides to having a
stay-at-home husband is I usually get home to a delicious cooked meal.
The only downside is I have to make all the money. HM: What was the last meal you cooked for yourself? GL: Before
I start writing an article, I complete most of my research, interviews
and an outline. Once that's all together, I sit down and write the
entire article, whether it's 500 or 4,000 words, all at once. The first
draft is usually a disaster, but I do extensive copy editing to fix up
the structure and wording after that. The editing probably takes me
longer than the writing process because I have to fact check every line
and make sure it's all written in an easily digestible manner. German Lopez: The
video of Eddie, the geriatric sea otter with arthritis who can dunk a
basketball, definitely tops my list right now. I think CityBeat should run a cover story just profiling Eddie. It's probably more important than the governor's budget proposals.HM: When you sit down to write an article, what's the process like? Describe your work style.