Tuesday, February 07, 2006

State of The American Newspaper

By William Prochnau, a former national reporter for the Washington Post, is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and Pulitzer Prize winner

….Alan Geere is also British. Garner's paladin, he is a self-described hired gun brought in to get the Mesa operation up and moving aggressively in its suburban war against the Arizona Republic. An immensely joyous man, he runs on a mix of adrenaline and ideas, good and bad, both of which will become yesterday's news without cheers or tears, a new set having by then erupted. He is here until December 31, 1999, when his work visa expires. His only regret after a year in the U.S. is that people find him intimidating. (“Everywhere I go I am surrounded by a sea of mildly antagonistic faces,” he tells me.)
Now he exults about his Mesa experience: “We have fun day and night! We're not wrapped up in winning awards! We used to be a fancy-pants newspaper that tried to be like the Washington Post.” But no more, he says. “I don't want to be a guiding light for society.” Recently, he sent a young reporter out to interview moviegoers emerging from the political satire “Wag the Dog.” All went well until an elderly man, three times the interviewer's age, began chasing the reporter down the street, scolding, “You're the problem! You're the problem!”
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