Santa raced around his shop, shouting orders to his elves, while I interviewed him earlier this week at the North Pole.

“It’s the busiest year since Mrs. Claus and I set up shop,” he confided while Rudolph installed a new light bulb in his nose and the other
LAUGHING SANTAreindeer checked out a state-of-the art GPS system on their newly painted sleigh.

I made a mistake by talking about the weather while establishing what interviewers call rapport.

“Climate change is melting the foundation of my enterprise out from under me,” he growled. “The North Pole will soon be an open expanse of water, and I’ll have to move my workshop to a mountain.”

I quickly switched the line of conversation by asking Santa one of the questions suggested last weekend by readers of my blog. Continue reading AN INTERVIEW CONFIRMS ‘THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS’


As I prepared this week to interview Santa Claus, I realized that it would be fun if you, a reader of my blog, were to suggest a question.

Granted, I know a lot about interviewing. I studied the art form, practiced the art form and taught the art form.santa-claus-thumb-1

I know, for example, that I should do my homework about the subject. In this instance, I have met and know a lot about Santa Claus.

When I was a kid, the old fellow appeared on the doorstep of our Kansas wheat farm house attired in a red suit and hat and in need of a shave and haircut. He left a bag of goodies behind, laughed a “ho, ho, ho” and took off in a Model A Ford.

He’s been showing up in late December ever since attired in the same red-and-white gear. Still needs a shave and haircut. Only he’s upgraded and now chases around from house to house in a sleigh pulled by a bunch of reindeer, including one with a blinking red nose.

I also know that the interviewer should establish rapport with the respondent during the ice-breaking introductory give-and-take. In Continue reading YOUR QUESTION WELCOME IN INTERVIEW WITH SANTA


As a former university journalism professor, I am often asked whether teaching journalism is relevant in an environment where immediacy of delivering news trumps the need for newspapers.

“Why,” goes the inquiry, “do you need to teach how to structure a
180px-Dicktracy1961cartoonnews story when anyone with a hand-held gadget can take a photograph and deliver the image and information to the world in seconds?”

The answer should be obvious: Everyone needs to be trained to gather and to share information that is fair, complete and accurate.

“Ah,” you say, “but trained reporters often fail to deliver on that professional standard.”

“Yes,” I admit, “but everyone in today’s media marketplace should be prepared to inform the public about something more important than
the posting of a starlet’s latest see-through dress.

Journalism training begins in elementary school as students learn how to structure a sentence and to organize a point-of-view essay. Continue reading TEACHING JOURNALISM MORE IMPORTANT TODAY


A siren wails as I prepare to dine with my wife and children. Sunday brunch will wait for a couple of hours as I race out of the house with camera in hand and drive through snow to a house fire.

This routine repeated often during my career as a weeklyPress hat newspaper editor during the 1950s. Linotypes set the type, flatbed presses printed the paper, typewriters wrote the stories and cumbersome Speed Graphic cameras took the pictures that traditionally appeared in the newspaper on Thursday.

My after-school training as a printer while attending junior and senior high school influenced my decision to choose a weekly career because I intended to purchase a paper. In those days  you needed to know how to operate all of the printing equipment as well as a typewriter and camera if you wished to own a paper.

I failed, however, to anticipate the hours required to produce a weekly newspaper as the editor, the news and sports reporter, the Continue reading I OFTEN MISS MY FIRST LOVE BUT ONLY IN MY DREAMS