Sunday, I was having Father’s Day dinner with my two sons (all my daughters being out of town), my daughter-in-law and two of my grandchildren at Yesterday’s, and my phone rang.
It was The New York Post. If you’ll recall, I represented that paper at the infamous Mark Sanford confessional press conference in June 2009, and they have called me since then from time to time when pursuing a story in SC. I’m generally glad to help when I can. Working with those folks can be an interesting change of pace.
This time, when the editor heard I was having Father’s Day dinner, he said he’d let me go, which I appreciated. But my curiosity was piqued.
A couple of hours later, he called me again, and asked if I could do a job for them. I asked what job.
Basically, they had heard that someone in this part of the country had advance copies of Rielle Hunter’s book. They wanted me to obtain a copy, read it quickly, and file a story that night.
I declined, and offered them someone else who might be interested in doing the story for them.
Part of it was that I was behind on some stuff I had meant to get done during my week off, and needed to get done before heading back to the office on Monday.
But part of it, I confess, was… well, you know the adage, You couldn’t pay me enough to do that? I’d rather have my gums scraped with a rusty screwdriver than read a single page of a tell-all book by Rielle Hunter. Every second I would spend doing that, I’d be acutely aware of all the good books out there that I probably won’t have time to read in my lifetime, and the sense of wasted time would be like a physical pain. I don’t even want to spend time passively listening to someone sum up her book in 25 words or less, much less spend any of my finite time on this planet reading anything that she might have to say. Just the thought of the exertion required to pick up such a book made me recoil.
I see they got somebody to do the story. Good. Especially since it wasn’t me.
I hope this doesn’t mean they won’t call me when they have something I would jump at (like the Sanford thing — I was burning with curiosity to know where our gov had been). But if so, having dodged any contact with a book by Rielle Hunter would have been worth the loss.
I agree. Yuk!
But you could have shaped the coverage of the story. Missed opportunity.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jim Hammond of SC Biz — and formerly of The State, and I believe before that The Greenville News.
Jim’s old-school, like me. Which in my case means I have a rather stuffy, high-threshold notion of what constitutes “news.” The Post is more into what people want to read, though…
Rielle is news only to those who think Jersey Shore is quality television. BTW, I’ve never watched it; however, if you watch what is supposed to be news, there they are talking about Snookie, Lindsey Lohan, et al. Sometimes, I’m working and just can’t get to that remote fast enough!
The way to ditch clients/assignments you don’t want to do is:
1) love to but when do you need this, nope can’t meet that timeframe, or
2) charge them a fee in advance they won’t pay.
I don’t even want to spend time passively listening to someone sum up her book in 25 words or less, much less spend any of my finite time on this planet reading anything that she might have to say.
I know what you mean. Heck, I wish I could get back the two minutes I spent reading this blog post. 😀
Who the heck is Rielle Hunter, and why would I be interested (or not) in what she had to say?
I once helped a National Enquirer reporter get something right on a rather minor story, and for years they kept calling, asking me to do stuff like stalk celebrities I’d never heard of while they were vacation in Waikiki. I always politely declined. I understand the thrill of being a paparazzo — it’s that primitive hunting instinct — but you know? Life’s too short to spend hiding in bushes all day in the forlorn hope of catching a fuzzy image of Posh Spice in a bikini.
Just to play the devils advocate, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to hear her side of the story? After all she was a major player in a scandal that brought down a presidential contender and possible cabinet member. No matter how tawdry the detail our system is suppossed to allow a person to defend herself.