Monday, November 16, 2015

Growing number of journalists, desk editors and reporters moonlight as members of local bands to relax and clear the mind (blog post)

Who deese guys?

The print edition hed was "A Deadline? Let Me Finish This Guitar Lick First" while the online hed was ''New Yorker Staffers (and Their Boss, David Remnick) Just Want to Rock''

UPDATE! NYT's STEVEN KURUTZ did a  great piece on November 17 in the Times STYLES section! The print edition hed was "A Deadline? Let Me Finish This Guitar Lick First" while the online hed was ''New Yorker Staffers (and Their Boss, David Remnick) Just Want to Rock'. ' The NYT piece had a different news hook and peg, and assigned several weeks ago as as PR hook for John Seabrook's very good new book about ''B.S. crappy songwriting in the new music world'' book, since Styles editor Stuart Emmrich has known John for over 20 years, and well, friends can be friends, why not? [I hope Stuart assigns someone at the Times to cover my new book on ''cli-fi'' when it comes out in....... 2032!]
NYT Nov. 17 journo rockers story went viral on social media. Story was tied in to John Seabrook's very good new book on the fakeness of mega pop crap without soul or signature, which Nat Rich reviewed by well online as well, too:

EARLIER IN THE WEEK, without any knowledge on our part that this NYT piece was already in the can and ready for release on November 17, we blogged thusly, as part of our discovery phase for Andy Revkin's upcoming interview on songwriting and creating songs.

  2.  Calling all journalists who write songs or in band in free time! For story am developing on this:
  3. RSVP

WE WROTE on November 16:]

Some journalists sometimes -- in their spare time -- use songwriting to fill in the gaps
between news stories and field assignments. Ive' been told by some journalists who moonlight as memebers of local bands (and who write songs and music as well) that some observations or feelings just work better
conveyed as songs.

As a reporter,  they need to look at facts and interview many people
to get a balanced point of view for their coverage of various stories.
But with songwriting, they are the boss and they are the editor and they
can go where their feelings and hearts and minds want to go in a
lyrical way and with muscial melodies, too.

Some songs they write are important ones for them, and the theme or story often works best conveyed as song. Plus, playing in a band is a lot of fun. Just as David Remnick of the New York magazine.

Steve Buttry, a journalist who has written about this topic, notes:

 ''A common conflict in newspaper newsrooms today is newsholes getting tighter and writers complaining about space limitations on their stories. While space is not limited online, busy digital readers still favor tighter stories. Without question, some stories lose important substance as they get cut for tighter newsholes. But writers should not assume that length restrictions preclude quality narrative writing. Listen to some of your favorite ballads. Study the storytelling of the songwriters. They tell powerful stories in fewer words than the average daily news story. Use those techniques in your stories.''

In addition to reporters like Andy Revkin and David Remnick and Dave Barry (the humorist), other journalists as musicians include John Seabrook, James Wood, Adam Gopnick, who has co-written songs for Melissa Errico, and a long list of others (which this blog is curating as we speak).

Reminick once told David Zax:

''Sunday at noon brings what Remnick calls "the great pleasure of my weekend": a guitar lesson. "I play in a band. I know, it’s very sad. What could be more pathetic than a guy in his 50s in a rock and roll band?" The band is called The Sequoias, "because we are wooden and tall and old and dead inside." He loves it, because for just a while, "I’m not reading and writing. I’m not thinking about budgets, or why we missed such-and-such a story." He’s hardly the only New Yorker moonlighting as an amateur musician: Staff writer John Seabrook is his band’s leader, and Remnick says he greatly admires the drumming ability of critic James Wood. "He’s the best literary critic-slash-drummer alive," Remnick says.''

At the  “White House Correspondents’ 2015 Jam” reporters as musicians included Pulitzer Prize-winning CNBC reporter Steve Liesman and his folk/rock band, the Mooncussers; David Remnick of The New Yorker and his band, the Sequoias; Vanity Fair’s Mark Rozzo (with Beatles-tribute outfit Bambi Kino); Brian Dumaine of Fortune playing with The Prowlers, and Esquire’s Tom Junod with Cousin Billy, according to reporter Emily Heil.

''Leavell, who will sit with each band for a song, was surprised at how easy it was to book a full slate of acts featuring members of the Fourth Estate," Heil added. "

“We all know the politicians of D.C., and the tension — but the dinner is a way that the city can have fun for a minute, to say ‘let’s put aside our differences and have a laugh,'” he said. Getting a roomful of pols and journalists to quit the shop talk and enjoy a jam or two? “I see that as a little extension of that attitude,” he said.

 But we wonder if official Washington is really ready to unbutton those stuffed shirts during what’s arguably its biggest business event of the year (and those business cards are not going to distribute themselves, you know). Liesman, who as CNBC’s chief economic correspondent spends his days chasing the Fed and his nights playing tweaked covers of rock classics, isn’t too worried:
“I’ve seen people you wouldn’t expect let their hair down when the music is good.”

Journalist, musician, songwriter Andy Revkin of the NYT DOT EARTH blog

From left, John Homans, Rebecca Donner, David Remnick and John Seabrook, all Sequoias members and part of the literary world.

FOTOS HERE AND BELOW  by Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times



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