Friday, January 21, 2011

Fortune cookie perspective

On January 1, I started a new blog called My Daily Fortune. Basically, what I'm doing is opening one fortune cookie every day in 2011 and following whatever that fortune tells me to do.

The blog has been a lot of fun. But I'd like to take the opportunity here, on the good ol' Henry Wiggen Blog, to step back and get some perspective on the experience so far. When I'm following the fortunes, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Fortunately, I've been getting a little bit of attention from local media outlets about the blog, which has been kind of crazy for me. For 10 years, I was on the other side, writing stories about other people. Being the subject of news stories has been eye-opening.

And I wonder if I made people feel as uncomfortable as I feel in the spotlight.

I will say that I was a newspaper journalist for my entire career, and the newspaper interview I did for My Daily Fortune was both the easiest and the most in-depth.

The TV interviews, on the other hand - those were a trip.

Channel 41 was the first to do a story. They invited me to their studio to be on the morning show. I was there about an hour and a half, and it's pretty interesting to see how much work goes into a two-minute live TV clip. All sorts of planning goes into it. The cameras have to be positioned right, the timing has to be perfect, the lighting has to be just so. You don't really worry about that too much in the newspaper world; yes, you have deadlines, but it's not nearly as intense as live television.

What surprised me the most was how much research news anchor Amy Hawley had done for the two-minute segment. She knew everything about the blog, and she was prepared to ask me a lot more questions than she had time for. I guess that's necessary: what if I had frozen up? What if I was only able to give one-word answers? If that happened, that two minutes becomes a lot longer for her.

The interview with Channel 4 was much different. They came to my house, which was a bit invasive, but mostly because I had to clean. The Channel 4 folks, while very nice, were also quite demanding.

That interview was also picked up by Fox News. Which was funny, because the news station that prides itself in being fair and balanced got a lot of the facts wrong. Not to say I don't appreciate the coverage; I really, really do, and the errors they made did nothing to take away from the blog. They called me a "Missouri man" (I live in Kansas) and they proclaimed that I was down on my luck and had no other choice but to put all of my faith in fortune cookies. That's not exactly the case.

But the news coverage has been - pardon the pun - a real fortune. I've got nearly 100 followers on Facebook, and I'm getting lots of hits on the blog. I had no idea whether it would take off or not, but so far it really has. Since this is sort of a "New Year's resolution" type story, the media attention may wane soon, but hopefully I can keep the ball rolling and make this thing popular nationwide by the end of the year.

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