30 Minus 2 Days of Writing, Day 1: Cheesy

“Are you the one who flashed the cheesy grin at my cameraman as you walked by?” the TV reporter asked.

“Yes,” I replied flatly, sensing trouble.

“Don’t do that. You ruined my shot.”

“Sorry,” I replied.

But I wasn’t sorry at all. In the news business, there were real reporters like me — inquisitors who dressed like slobs, asked a lot of questions and tried to make sense of events — and there were talking heads, the good-looking, well-dressed hacks with helmet hair who stole their stories from us and condensed them into virtually meaningless 10-second sound bites designed to elicit oohs and aahs from the noobs who watched the nightly news. Even they described themselves as media whores.

I had little to no respect for this schmo, and only apologized because my mother raised me right.

We were both at the courthouse to cover the trial of a corrupt city councilman, a story I’d broken months earlier by carefully cultivating contacts in the police department and city manager’s office. Filing into the courtroom with the lawyers, councilman’s family and the ever-present crowd of broken-down riff-raff who prop up the halls of justice, I couldn’t resist grinning at the cameraman, who was trying to videotape something — anything, really — that might look interesting on television.

Later that night, I watched the broadcast to see how the station covered the story. It didn’t. Substituted it with a story about a man who built a wheelchair for his crippled dog instead.

Highly visual, and cute. Even I almost cracked a smile, an act that makes me feel like my face is about to fall off.

Look, if information is what you want, read a magazine or newspaper. If it’s puppies and froth, just plaster a cheesy smile on your mug and watch the animatrons on Channel 4.


Like an idiot, I agreed to participate in this ridiculous 28-day writing competition hosted by Nicky and Mike over at We Work For Cheese. I hate them for it. And myself even more. To see the drivel the other participants wrote for today’s theme, click here. If the link isn’t live yet, it’s because I had to post when I was awake, and before it was up. I blame Nicky for this, just as I’m inclined to blame her for everything that’s wrong in my life.

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23 thoughts on “30 Minus 2 Days of Writing, Day 1: Cheesy

  1. Real reporters with cheesy smiles that ruin the shot for fake reporters with puppies and froth on their brains are my favorite kind. Wonderfully written, Mike, you never disappoint. 🙂

    • Yeah, we print folks kind of got screwed when they spun the wheel of life.

      BTW, I seem to be having some trouble commenting on your blog. I hope to fix this problem later today by switching computers.

  2. Hey Mike! Yep, the “gob on a stick” reporters (pleasant UK slang for “mouth on a stick”) are nauseating. I don’t watch the news religiously, but when I do, I don’t need it boiled down to a misleading essence. Well said, Sir. Indigo

    • I like it that you used the politically correct term. I decided crippled is still a word, and while I wouldn’t want to apply it to a human being, it seems okay to use it describe animals. I hope PETA doesn’t jump all over me.

  3. Everyone who commented before me already complimented you on the great piece. So I won’t do that. I will just sit here and stare blankly at the screen for a little while.

  4. I’ve always been perplexed by people who don’t subscribe to a newspaper. How do they get any actual news? From TV? In pre-Internet days, I mean. Because that’s not just cheesy; it’s scary.

  5. Although your mama raised you right, I cannot imagine you saying “sorry.” Maybe sarcastically taunting “sorry.” Maybe yelling-in-your-face “sorry.” But out and out “sorry”…NO. I see it more like this.

    “Don’t do that. You ruined my shot.”

    “Fuck you, pretty boy.”

  6. Those clowns with the news cameras usually have it coming. News networks always try to shoehorn irrelevant, on-location video work into every story. That’s why you see such stupidity as a “Live-and-on-Location” report from a reporter standing in the middle of an empty dust field at 11pm to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the discovery of a serial killer’s dead body stash.

  7. Blah blah blah “wheelchair for his crippled dog i” OH OH CRIPPLED DOG WITH A WHEELCHAIR!!!! Great post Mike!!!!

    You know I’m just kidding. I saw you in this… the reporter has GOTTA be you. And I bet this is all first hand experience. If it isn’t, it is certainly close. Beautifully written… I loved it!

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