Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"You Got to Have Passion to be a Columnist."

EUGENE KANE WANTS TO save the world. And it all started because Kane, a Dobbins and Temple grad, thought the media portrayed his North Philly neighborhood in an unrealistic manner. He became a journalist to alter people's opinions about the world.

Here are a few things that stood out for me from his visit to class:

- He says that columnists can't straddle the fence. They need to take one side and support their opinion.
- Many of his columns stem from news events. He does further reporting for his column.
- "You got to have passion to be a columnist," he said.
- Journalists can't ever be completely objective, he believes. They are subjective simply by choosing what stories to write.
- "If you have any curiosity at all, it's fairly easy to find column ideas," he said.

- The idea of being post-racial is absurd, he said. "Race is still a pretty big issues in America."
- A reader recently called him a "racist imbecile."
- "A lot of people will not like anything you do," Kane said. "You got to have thick skin to be a columnist. You shouldn't be in journalism if you don't have thick skin."
- He wants his columns to stir a reaction. If they do not evoke a reaction, what is the point?

- "Print will never die," he said.
- He remembers the days when you could smoke in the newsroom.
- Twitter is not a frivolous media unless you treat it like a frivolous media, Kane stated.
- He is not "The Angry Black columnist." He writes about social issues, which often deal with the African-American community.
- The media tend to portray minorities in a negative light, he said.
- If you are interested in becoming a columnist, you need to develop your voice and perspective.
- Blogs are a way to develop that voice.
- Focus on what you know, he said.
- Get an internship. Now.
- Combined with Bill Cosby, Kane is worth more than $300 million.

What stood out for you?


Gillian Francella said...

I loved Eugene Kane's talk. I thought that his passion for the profession was awesome. He didn't talk about how journalism is a business or selling your soul to sell a story. Instead, it was about keeping your goals in mind and having good, reasonable intentions for what you want to achieve in the field.
I was on the fence about print vs. magazines after what we have learned about the industries, but Mr. Kane made me feel a lot better about print.
My hopes are that it is exciting, changing, reaching people, and helping people by sharing their stories. According to Kane, the newsroom is exciting and you can change the world (or at least a small part of it).

Casey Carden said...

I like how Kane tries to approach stories from a different angle to change the popular perception. On a side note, it would be interesting to see how Kane would approach the issues that Professor Miller brought to light with his story concerning the violence between Asian and African American students in South Philly.

Joe Boland said...

What I liked most about his presentation was that I felt he was being really honest with us. I found his stories interesting and even funny at times. I also like that he writes not only the stories that will create some sort of controversy but stories that are more meaningful for him and that he feels people should be informed on

Rebel With A Cause said...

I really enjoyed hearing from Mr. Kane. Thought he offered the reality of the business. It was very interesting how he allowed what he saw as a need from a social context propel him to journalism with a mission of changing the world. Bring people into important conversations on the state of the environment, political activism and cultural awareness is what I would like to be able to accomplish as a journalist. Hearing from someone who is actually making change a reality through the power of the press of was encouraging. I also found it interesting his logic in not being afraid to write provocative stories which engaged issues of "race", and sparked public discourse.

Jessie Fox said...

I enjoyed listening to Kane, he was down to earth and honest about his career. The one thing that stuck out the most for me was how Kane found something he liked that affected him and turned it into his career. He saw something through his own insights and knowledge and did something about it. This semester one thing that has been a common factor in all my journalism classes is, follow your passion and what means the most to you. Take interest in something and make something out of it. Teach yourself to look at things in a way that have never seen before and don't let anyone have a negative impact on your ideas. Stick with what you know and what you want to see changed and dedicate yourself to getting there. Kane personalized this idea and is another person who made this thought a reality. Its encouraging to know that we can change something just by making a personal thought known. If you take yourself seriously, so will others.
I also love Bill Cosby and its awesome that they are friends!

Mary Gbaya-Kanga said...

Eugene Kane's talk to me was an eye opener. I was walking around only thinking about the pro's of being a journalist. I was thinking about the fame, meeting new and famous people, partying with the best and writing about it or talking about it on air. I didn't really think about people not liking what I do or say, or how they coulp possibly talk bad about me. Eugene was labled the angry black columnist, and also called a racisit imbecile. I wouldn't want everyone to have anything negative to say about me, so i guess I better start working on that teflon skin!

Erica Hochman said...

Interestingly, I have felt some discouragement about journalism in general. I entered journalism as a student with a passion for writing, not only in a journalistic style, but creatively as well. Examining all of the different options presented to us previously as a prospective journalist, I couldn't really pinpoint a career path that I was truly excited about. Upon listening to Eugene Kane, I feel that I have learned substantive, valuable knowledge about the life a passionate columnist and feel like it might be a potential career suited for me as well as others who love writing without strict rules and guidelines. I felt that Kane has a lot of freedom in his career which I think creative thinkers and curious minds would enjoy.

Craig said...

I thought he was very well spoken and pretty funny. I liked that he acknowledged that he wrote a lot about race but that he considered it the same as someone who writes about sports or politics.

I thought it was interesting that he's been in the business long enough that he's seen it change so much to the point that people could smoke in an office that did not have internet.

Berryman, A said...

I thought he was very interesting, honest and funny. I really liked hearing him speak about journalism, it was good to hear from a previous Temple student who graduated and is doing so well in his career.

Gabrielle Shirdan said...

Great speaker. Really entertaining and informational. He said "If it bleeds, it leads," talking about crime in the news and how even though he felt safe growing up in North Philly, the news reported his neighborhood as the worst and most violent. He got into journalism to give people a different perspective. I found that interesting, and very true.

Jeff J said...

I really found Eugene Kane's visit worthwhile. He was an exceptional speaker and shared his honest opinion on journalism, especially being a columnist. It was nice to hear someone downright acknowledge their bias as a journalist. His views on race seemed quite rational and realistic. I also liked how he occasionally will "ruff up the feathers" on purpose.

Coffee said...

I sincerely regret not staying after class and talking further with Eugene. Had the time following his lecture not been of utter importance to me, I would have loved to hear what his childhood had been like. What stuck the most with me was the fact that he really loves this city, and always has, and he took it upon himself to show others the beauty he saw himself. It's a shame that the media thrives on sensationalism, and not the more positive aspects. Maybe if more folks would see community activism in action, they would find themselves presented with the basis for starting their own movement forward.

This example reminds me of the recent Westboro Baptist visit (or lack thereof). Had I found this video online in due time I would have loved to have organized something using the same mold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Of_2ykZpQ Fighting fire with fire.

He takes his work as as his duty to the people, but ultimately it's admirable on his part in trying to shed a positive light on a misdiagnosed area. It's just too bad that Philadelphia lost him to the city of Milkwaukee.

Michael Stoltzfus said...

Eugene seemed like a great guy, I definitely liked listening to him. He loves what he does and it really shows when he talks, and in his actions. It's really impressive all the stuff he is involved with.

I'm not necessarily directing this towards Eugene but he touched a lot on race during his talk, and I'm just so sick of it. I know it'd be naive to think that it still isn't an issue but i just get so annoyed with it. I just wish we were past it.

DL.Holmes said...

I was not there for Eugene conversation but I wish I was there. But from what I've read and heard about Eugene seems like a good guy and knows he's stuff. I always wanted to write but I never knew what I wanted to write about until last year. I also agree with Kane and saying you have to be passionate about what you write about. Like I said I did not know what I wanted to write about until last year and because I know what I want to write about and is very passionate about it I feel that people will enjoy my column and feel each word that I put into my column.

Frankito29 said...

It was a cool visit. he's a very interesting dude, with a great view of print journalism. i was relieved when he said print is not dying! (HOORAY!!!)

He's passion comes out when he talks, which is very interesting! and the fact that he got his dream job, amazing! oh and he was very entertaining. :-)