Right after the three-hour Web Publishing session I attended the Entertainment Columnist in the 21st Century session, and this one proved to be much more interesting than the first. The speaker was a TV columnist from the Austin Chronicle, an alt weekly publication. She kept the session very conversational and let us ask her a lot of questions, which was really helpful since it was catered to what the students wanted to know.
She’s interviewed several famous faces from the TV world, such as “Arrested Development” creator Mitchell Hurwitz, so a lot of people asked her about what you should and shouldn’t ask when interviewing celebrities. But what I found most interesting was how she’s seen the TV industry change as media has changed, such as how even though Nielsen still tries to measure the worth of shows by their ratings, they don’t take into account the number of online viewers or the number of viewers who Tivo or DVR the show. She discussed how audiences are becoming more fragmented, with shows having dedicated audiences that are smaller than the networks have been used to.
She also gave a lot of great writing tips for how to put a new spin on an entertainment story that may have been covered in several sources. She said if you focus on something very particular, a more universal theme can often come out of that. For example, when she interviewed the creator of “Mad Men” she mentioned how she liked his recognition of the writers at the Emmy Awards, and it led to a lot of insight from him she wouldn’t have gotten if she asked the typical questions. The session definitely gave me a lot to think about the next time I write an arts and entertainment piece.