EOC spotlight on: journalismjobs.com Ben Fong-Torres interview

EOC spotlight on: journalismjobs.com Ben Fong-Torres interview
Ben Fong-Torres (left) and some other guy.

While researching Jane Hirt of the Chicago Tribune, I came upon this kick-ass interview series with journalists from journalismjobs.com. This series seems to be discontinued -- I can't find anything beyond 2006 -- but no matter: there is plenty here to choose from, including James Fallows, Christopher John Farley, John Rawlings, Bob Edwards, and Michele Norris. Those are some of the names I was interested in; you may surely find your own.

Another I enjoyed immensely was with Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres, who talks about his favorite interviews (Ray Charles and Jim Morrison stand out), the balance struck with interview subjects between courtesy and professionalism, his portrayal in 2000's Almost Famous, and the most memorable concert he ever covered.

Visit Ben Fong-Torres online.


JournalismJobs.com: What is the one thing you can say you learned from legendary Rolling Stone colleague Hunter S. Thompson, if anything?

Ben Fong-Torres: It's best not to learn too much from him. If you thought Rolling Stone was loose, then we hadn't seen nothing yet until Hunter came along and redefined what you could do in terms of personal writing and unleashed humor and surrealism. That's not to mean that anybody else could do it. That's probably what happened to a lot of young writers who thought they could imitate Hunter Thompson and be a Gonzo journalist and make it career out of it. It's no easier to do that than to say, "I'm going to be Woodward and Bernstein" or anybody else who were singular or who had a particular style or approach. You had to do it your own way with some inspiration probably from certain models. Those models can range from someone as driven on a journalistic level from Woodward and Bernstein, to someone as loose and personal and unrestrained as a Hunter S. Thompson. You just pull the best from all of them. I hope I never fell into a thing where I tried to think how Hunter would describe this scene. You just can't do it. I didn't.

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