Archive for the ‘Ira's Life’ Category

What’s next and a few Ira links from the past month…

January 16, 2010

How did your semester go?

Great question… and I’ve fielded it every year since 2004. The answer always varies but I can say I never thought my response would include, “Well, I got to meet Ira Glass.”

I still struggle with describing this to folks. It’s like a good high school basketball player getting 15 minutes with Michael Jordan- you’re at the point where you are strongly immersed in the craft and can really appreciate how incredibly brilliant the person sitting across from you is.  It strengthens your desire to achieve your professional goals and helps you refocus on what you need to do next to grow. Plus, you can’t stop mentioning it to everyone who cares even an ounce about that particular entity.

So if meeting Ira Glass was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, then Questions for Ira Glass will be too (sort-of). This blog helped focus my thoughts (that, thankfully, later became true interview questions), force me into a new writing copy-cycle, strengthen my pursuit of articles to read and also likely helped my credibility to gain the interview assignment.

All of that is too good to simply stop. You can’t talk to Ira Glass every month, so Questions for Ira Glass may be done. There are plenty of other personal heroes that occasionally sneak through CNY however so Questions for (Someone) is something that’s definitely on the horizon. I even have the first post-Ira candidate in mind.

Until then, enough about me and this site. Here’s some of what’s been going on with Ira since November:

Links: PRI’s Twitter feed | WBEZ’s Twitter feed | BleacherReport.com | The Daily Collegian | Etsy

E-mail us if you have any suggestions on who should be the focus of a Questions blog next… or if you have any more Ira info.

I. Sat. Down. And. Talked. With. Ira. Glass.

November 17, 2009

via TheNewsHouse.com

Question No. 30: “How the heck did you do that?”

November 10, 2009

Ira Question Written by Nathan Mattise

Today I got rejected from the Carnegie-Knight foundation’s News21 journalism initiative.

The application-to-interview-to-result timeframe was so fast I haven’t really had time to process it. I know I was up against some heavy competition – folks who have been doing videography/design/ flash  for years, people with professional experience at high profile outlets, students with awards in all the high profile student competitions.

I like to think my materials are strong, I interview well and I display a willingness to  learn the skills and techniques I haven’t mastered. There are plenty of other young journalists like me that for one reason or another just haven’t had opportunities like News21 to devote ourselves to a meaningful project with the opportunity to really expand our skillsets. It’s a Catch-22 however. Without the skills/experience to begin with, you can’t participate in opportunities to gain skills/experience.

That’s where Ira Glass becomes a bit of a role model. Somehow, some way he took his non-journalism degree, interned at NPR in Washington and eventually worked his way through, “nearly every NPR network news program” and “held virtually every production job.”

So, Ira, it’s too cliche to ask for advice, but…

Is it possible to have a professional rise like yours in today’s professional media culture? Can you grab an opportunity to showcase your abilities without previous indicators and then somehow work your way to the top echelon of an outlet?

Links: News21.org| Lectures.syr.edu

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 28: “And the morale of the story is?”

November 5, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

I know journalism always preaches unbiased reporting, but TAL isn’t pure journalism…. it’s pure storytelling.

Stories have morals. Habeas Schmabeas teaches us about how even prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are human beings deserving of fairness.  81 Words sheds light on the beginning of society’s push to truly understand homosexuality.  Hell, there are even episodes that go directly at morality and decision making in the human brain.

It has to be impossible to tell all these stories and not have something to draw from, right?

What is the best moral you can take away from a story you’ve produced on TAL? How much of an impact has what you’ve seen, heard and interacted with made on your life outlook?

Links: This American Life

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 24: “What are you dressing up as this year?”

October 29, 2009

Ira Question Written by Nathan Mattise

In spirit of this weekend’s holiday, there’s something I’ve been wanting to ask virtually any celebrity. It might be even more pertinent to Ira Glass however.

As someone who has acknowledged a lack of interest in the spotlight, it has to be weird for Ira Glass to see his likeness everywhere. His notoriety isn’t even built on his image, but it’s not as if people are recording his voice for answering machines or home video voice overs. He appears on things as random as Whiskey Bar signs and has folks aspire to be him on Halloween.

Trick-or-Treat Ira…

What  is your reaction when you see people wanting to recreate your image? Are you flattered? Is it surreal? Does it make you self-conscious? (All this especially given… your medium of choice is imageless).

Links: Flickr | Hulu

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 23: “Has anyone ever told you that you sound like…”

October 28, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

My top five all-time greatest voices:
5. Howard Cossell
3. Morgan Freeman
1. Jimmy Stewart

Um, so…

What voices did you grow up emulating? If you could trade voices with someone, would you (and if so, who would it be)?

Links: YouTube | Hulu

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 17: “When you were a little kid…”

October 19, 2009

Ira Question Written by Nathan Mattise

I’m not going to lie – if I meet Ira Glass, I’ll be briefly shellshocked.

Meeting anyone noteworthy is a moment. If that person is considerably hip, it adds even more weight to the instant. If that person is someone who you admire strongly for their work and aspire to emulate, it’s potentially once-in-a-lifetime.

I could go on about how Ira Glass inspires me to better storytelling or how I’d do anything just to intern at TAL for a few months, but there’s no need to (largely because I even namedropped him in my profile on NewsHouse.com).

The focus, as always, is on Ira. Well, in this case…

Who were some of the individuals that inspired you to become the storyteller you are today? What in particular about these individuals did you admire and potentially try to emulate?

Links: The NewsHouse

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 15: “Let me ask…”

October 14, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

Isn’t that weird?

I thought the same thing when I watched Ted Koppel on stage a week or so ago. When you’re a notable host/journalist/storyteller, so much of your life is devoted towards asking the questions and discussing others (what they think, what they did, who they are, etc.).  Having the tables turned on you just seems so incredibly unnatural, yet with any big TAL initiative Ira Glass gets thrown on the media tour.

So, Ira, first question…

How does it feel to be interviewed when so much of your life is devoted towards telling the stories of others?

Links: Colbert Nation | The NewsHouse

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 12: “Breakfast of Champions…”

October 8, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

This afternoon I lost a create-a-sandwich contest. We needed to submit our best culinary creation to honor the new dean of the communications school. I had a Top Five entry but ultimately came up short.
What does any of this have to do with Ira? Well, someone at the event chatted with me about his upcoming SU appearance…

Have you ever been immortalized in a menu item? If not, what food would be the most “Ira Glass?”

Links: The NewsHouse

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 8: “I’ll send a postcard.”

September 30, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

The This American Life DVDs are endless fodder for journalism students. The stories are remarkably creative yet universal. The production quality is really high. There are different storytelling methods employed.

…and when you watch all the episodes, you can go back to some for the commentary.

One of the more interesting bits of material in that feature is when Ira mentions his ongoing relationship with one of his subjects in the “Escape” episode. Basic newswriting courses discourage friendsourcing and I had to avoid even grabbing a drink with a source back in my lifestyle reporting days.

What gives?

What are your thoughts on maintaining or developing relationships with sources? Since the stories your share are so intimate, does this happen pretty often?

Links: The Pocono Record

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.