Adrienne Dawn Lawrence [adlawrence]
What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
Arts and entertainment; I write for all feature sections in a daily paper. Plus I write for more than 10 specialty tabs published each year by the same paper.
The sections include (but are not limited to): The Next 72 Hours, an arts and entertainment guide; Lifestyle, off-beat and unusual, sometimes artsy stories; Horizon, the Sunday features section; Health and Fitness; Food; Travel and Outdoors; Home and Family
Specialty tabs include (but are not limited to): Elegant Living, a quarterly glossy magazine; Senior Living, published every two months; Healthy Frederick, quarterly; Body and Soul, a publication specifically covering women's health, beauty and fashion tips; Escape, a once-a-year travel guide; Green, a quarterly on all things with the green movement in mind
In which media do you presently work or have you worked?
Newspaper. I also have experience in broadcasting and radio.
Please list a web address where where one can view an example of your work.
What is "news"?
It depends on the beat and community. Essentially, it boils down to the unusual or somewhat unknown.
To you, what is objectivity?
True objectivity lives in a vacuum. Since I don't, I do my best to question everything and talk with my editor to make sure I examine all sides of the story and fairly write about each aspect (example: not presenting details with a slant).
Which paper do you buy on Sundays? Where do you read it?
I read the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Frederick News-Post (where I'm employed) just about every day, including Sundays. I read all on my computer or smartphone.
The Frederick News-Post has a digital version of the paper that I really love. It is the actual paper, in layout and all, but completely digital. The format is similar to a PDF. In the office, we call it the e-edition (electronic).
Does freedom of expression end where the editorial line begins?
No. But that doesn't mean that freedom of expression includes freedom to mess with the facts. Stories are interesting in part because of good writing and that requires creativity, be it soft or hard news.
Do you feel that analytical and investigative journalism is being lost?
No. I do think that it is an expensive (money- and time-wise) journalist venture, but there are good analytical and investigative journalists out there. Case in point, the story 60 Minutes uncovered about Greg Mortenson (author of "Three Cups of Tea").
With a camera on every mobile phone, is every citizen becoming a correspondent?
In short, yes. But are they skilled at telling the whole story? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Recording a storm is great, that person was in the right place at the right time. But knowing that there's more to the story, such as other people's reactions and the impact on their lives — that's a skilled reporter's job.
How would you explain the boom of the tabloid press?
There is a tabloid boom? I had no idea, I don't read gossip news all that often. My initial thought is, there's a population boom and thus more people to read gossip. But I doubt that the percentage of people who buy gossip papers is any higher than before.
As a note, a tabloid isn't necessarily a gossip paper. It is merely the style of the layout; there are a number of papers laid out tabloid-style that are reputable newspapers.
What is your position regarding the right to privacy of famous people?
Depends on why the person is famous.
If the person is a celebrity, they traded their privacy to be in the limelight. Now that doesn't mean that paparazzi should cross boundaries, such as spying or digging in someone's trash. But should the person be held accountable for his or her actions when it has an impact on his or her work? Absolutely.
If the person is a public officer and has obligations to people in a particular area or country, he or she should be held to the highest standards. Do I care who he or she is sleeping with? No, not in the least.
What can you teach us about the art of the interview?
A good interview is a good conversation with a little bit of direction. There's no good way to do that without doing one's homework first.
Please list well-known people you have interviewed.
Diane Rhem, Scott Devours (Roger Daltry's drummer), Bobby Steggert (nominated for a 2010 Tony), Felix Hell (leading organist in the world), John Carney (concertmaster for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Carol Blymire (blogger who cooked all of the recipes in French Laundry and wrote about it), plus others ...
Would you say the journalism blog is revolutionizing the profession?
Exclusively blogs? Not really. But are the top-notch bloggers — who not only invest their time, but also strive for the very best writing and reporting possible — pushing us to do better? Yes.
Blogs are a tool, just one in a box of tools. But it's the same for newspapers, TV, or radio. There isn't one type of media that is singularly powerful enough to revolutionize all the others. Each method influences, but no media outlet is better or more powerful than the rest.
Full disclosure: I've maintained a blog of some sort since 2004.
Will the paper press disappear?
No. This is something that people love to jump all over and act as if they know the ends and outs, especially when they've never worked for a newspaper or more importantly, in a press room (where the paper is printed, not written).
Come to The Frederick News-Post and take a tour. We have one of the best printers in the nation. Seriously, we do. Our printing side of the company is booming and constantly growing. We print far more than our own publications.
What are your thoughts of the free papers distributed in cities?
I think it's great and I welcome it.
Full disclosure: The main feature section I write for each week is The Next 72 Hours, a total market coverage piece. TMC means everyone, who lives in the area and wants one, receives a copy.
What is the book you would like to write?
Funny you should ask, I'm seriously considering a book in about five to 10 years. I'm still working on the angle. But there's something brewing.
Is there a motto or ethical principle that clarifies your decisions in moments of confusion?
Pick your battles and don't be afraid to confront someone in power, if it is important.
What advice would you give to someone who has just left university and wishes to start in the profession?
Don't be too proud or afraid to do the dirty work. Everyone has to start somewhere and the lowest level positions are a good way to begin. Also, when you don't get the position you apply for, keep at it, eventually you'll find the right job.
How do you respond to telemarketing calls?
Polite, but firm.
It is 5 pm on a typical Sunday: what are you doing?
Usually seeing a show, at a friend's house for a party or hosting a party. (My husband sometimes asks that we don't do anything on a Sunday night. He needs a break every once in a while.)
What was your first vehicle?
A rusty Ford Bronco II. I'm always surprised when I see one on the road.
Which animal do you prefer for company?
My husband's and my dog, Cayenne.
Do you think tipping is a good custom?
I waited tables for five years. Yes, tipping is a very good custom.
Are there too many holidays in the work calendar?
No. I think we should have more federal holidays too.
What do you use: Mac or PC and why?
Mac at home and in the office. I love Macs because of the simplicity in design.
Do you find the saturation of advertising in the media excessive?
I find it necessary. News is expensive and someone needs to pay for it to be around.
Do you think video games, chat rooms, etc. have a dangerous addictive
effect on teenagers?
I'm not sure about teenagers, but I think answering these questions can have an addictive effect on me.
Adrienne Dawn Lawrence
Frederick, Maryland, USA