If you attended Narrative Round Table No. 2, which took place earlier this week, I talked about what I call a reporter-centric way of thinking. But I don't think I made myself clear.
So I prepared an informal quiz, to clarify what I mean, and to help you figure out if you too are reporter-centric.
I should note that I don't intend it to be insulting. If anything, it may be humorous. Actually, I hope you find it funny. And I hope you enjoy it. And so, without further ado, . . .
Please complete the following sentences to figure out how reporter-centric you are, and learn what that might mean for you.
1) When I read the newspaper, . . .
a. I glance at the pictures and scan the headlines.
b. I read each byline and if I recognize the name, I read as much of the article as possible.
c. Wait, wait. You mean that gray thing with words? I don't read that!
2) When researching a topic, the first thing I do is . . .
a. call a friend.
b. Google it.
c. search The New York Times archive.
3) After waking up, the first thing I do is . . .
a. comb my hair, brush my teeth, eat breakfast or go to wherever I need to be.
b. talk to someone and find out what's going on.
c. check nytimes.com, or go out and buy The Times.
4) If a crisis happens, I hope . . .
a. no one is hurt.
b. The Times unleashes one or a few of of its top reporters to tell a strong, interesting story for the next day's paper.
c. to find a TV and see what happened.
5) In the future, I'd like to . . .
a. do some good for the rest of the world.
b. do something I enjoy and get paid well for my work.
c. become a great reporter, just like the people I admire most.
6) The majority of the books on my bookshelf . . .
a. compile stories my favorite reporters wrote. The rest were mentioned in articles I read.
b. are about any old topic. Some are fiction, some are non-fiction. . . . The rest are necessary for my profession or classwork.
c. Um, I don't own books.
7) When someone famous dies, . . .
a. I mourn his or her death and keep him or her in my prayers. Maybe the person will come up in conversation.
b. I look forward to reading his or her obituary in the next day's Times. It'll probably be great. And if I'm lucky, it'll be written by Robert D. McFadden.
c. I don't always hear about it right away. It'll be news to me when people mention the death in conversation.
8) In my free time, . . .
a. Woah, woah—I don't have free time.
b. I talk with other people, write, draw, browse the Internet. . . .
c. I read up on reporters I heard about recently, borrow a book of theirs from the library, or read the day's paper or check the news online.
9) I think most reporters are . . .
a. the most noble people alive.
b. I don't know; I've never met one, or even thought about that. . . .
10) Altogether, I think about the world . . .
a. when other people talk about it.
b. now and then.
c. in terms of the reporters who would write about aspects of it.
Now, add up the points you scored for your answers, using this key:
1) a = 1, b = 2, c = 0
2) a = 1, b = 0, c = 2
3) a = 0, b = 1, c = 2
4) a = 0, b = 2, c = 1
5) a = 1, b = 0, c = 2
6) a = 2, b = 1, c = 0
7) a = 1, b = 2, c = 0
8) a = 0, b = 1, c = 2
9) a = 2, b = 0, c = 1
10) a = 1, b = 0, c = 2
If you scored between 0 and 5, you're probably not reporter-centric in the least, and you have nothing to worry about. You probably don't like to read much, and certainly not anything a reporter wrote. You might prefer a scholarly work, or a best-seller, or something a friend or a few websites recommended. You rarely, if ever, pay for a newspaper.
If you scored between 6 and 10, you're not very reporter-centric. You might think now and then about journalism, stories, and things of that nature, but you're not obsessed with them. You may know a reporter or two, and their thinking may have rubbed off on you. You may pick up a newspaper for the experience.
If you scored between 11 and 15, you may be on your way to becoming reporter-centric, or you were in the past and you realized how unusual is to be always thinking about reporters. You might subscribe to a newspaper, or you could be in the habit of picking one up on Sundays. You may know reporters. You might even be a reporter.
If you scored between 16 and 20, you're probably a reporter, and you may know several reporters. You may love reading. You're definitely reporter-centric. Which makes for a lonely but satisfying existence. You learn about reporters and look for their bylines for pleasure. You're in your own little world, and you may care little about the real one. You may wish to seek help.