No fooling around here, I'm back into the swing of things and landed a pretty awesome interview with this week's #MCM honouree, Ken Baker! To refresh your memory, the point of #MCM is to highlight successful males in their respective industries, more than likely somehow related to entertainment or pop culture.
Ken seems to have done it all having titles such as pro-athlete, Us Weekly correspondent, People magazine corespondent, author, E! News Senior Correspondent, father, along with many others under his belt. He is incredibly humble and was willing to do a Q&A. We discussed everything from the very touching subject of whether or not the TV industry is dying to what he's learned about himself through his work.
Check it out:
Is this industry everything you thought it would be and more?
Overall, I just feel really blessed to have had the career I have had. In 2016, I will hit my 20th anniversary of working in Hollywood as a journalist. It's mind-blowing how much change I have experienced and witnessed over that time. My first job in Hollywood was as a People magazine correspondent. We published all of our stories once a week. So we would go seven days without breaking anything new! I didn't even have a cell phone. Instead, the bureau chief gave us pagers and would beep us if we needed to call the office for breaking news. Now we live in an entirely different media reality. Today, I broke a story that Khloe and James Harden were still dating and within minutes of me getting that information the story was blasted globally on the web to people's phones from the Philipines to Philadelphia. It's been amazing to see.
It all looks pretty glamorous from the outside, but I have my doubts about what goes on inside.
It's interesting that you say I have a glamorous job. I don't really think of my daily life as being like that at all. But where I do agree with you is that fame is a very fascinating social phenomenon and it does intrigue me even twenty years into doing this for a living. There is an element of fantasy and escape that celebrities and the entertainment industry provide.
A lot of people feel the need to tell me that the media/tv industry is a dying industry. How do you feel about this, and if it's true what can we do to change it?
TV news is changing, but it is not dying. In fact, it is set to thrive, at least in terms of the almost limitless ability we now have to reach people on all platforms. The bottom line is that, yes, people are "cutting the chord" and many, especially younger people, aren't subscribing to cable. But cable is just a platform, it's not content. If we at E! or any other content provider are able to produce compelling, engaging, fresh information that is delivered by interesting, smart and fun hosts, then TV news will thrive even more than it has already. But you must always be aware of not only what the audience wants, but HOW they want to consume it.
Amen to that. With so many years of experience, you've sure seen a lot - good and bad. Since starting your career, what have you learned about yourself/life working as a writer and a journalist?
Well, I am still learning a lot about myself. I have a long way to go. In fact, that is one of the most wonderful things about a journalism career: the opportunities for self-discovery are infinite.
The book writing side of my career, quite frankly, is my sanity saver, my life saver. It really is a place where I can write about issues and thoughts and fears and things that fascinate me with great depth. I recently went through a period of some personal crisis and writing really was a place I could go and escape into the fictional world and find satisfaction in creating. Writing has always had that therapeutic benefit for me.
As for the TV side of what I do, I have to say that having to see yourself on a TV every day is the opposite of an ego boost -- at least for me. I find it very humbling. The camera doesn't lie. You can't hide. It sears through you. It can make you realize all your flaws and quirks and make it harder to be in denial about them. I am not just talking about physical things, but also just how you react to situations, especially on live TV. But I enjoy the challenge. It is the closest thing I have been able to experience to that rush that used to come from playing competitive hockey in college and in the pros. And it is just fun. Not always. Every job has its drawbacks, but, let's face it, I would be an idiot to whine about anything about my job.
Hey, every job has its pros and cons. That's good that you're able to acknowledge that part of it. I suppose it's good to have something to turn to when we need to cope that has us feeling great as well as gets those creative juices flowing. Last question for the Q&A: what does it take to become the next Ken Baker?
Hmmm... I really don't think there will be a next Ken Baker. I think there will be someone new who brings a whole level of experience and interests and skill sets unique to themselves that will make their mark in entertainment journalism. He/She will be their own person. I will tell you this: There are some really talented young journalists in the E! pipeline already. It's exciting to see them grow and develop a relationship with the audience.
I don't know about you guys (might be a bit biased), but that was one of the most fulfilling Q&As I have ever laid my eyes on. I am not saying this to be pretentious. It was like I was taking a course on the ins and outs of the industry. And Ken answered a few off-the-record questions that put me at ease about my career and future.
You have probably all come across his journalism work at some point in your life, but have you read his book, Finding Forever? If you haven't, I suggest you go here (to learn about the series), or here (to grab a copy) ASAP!
Hope you all have a rockin' Monday - comment below or tweet me @MissSaverinaS who your #MCM is.