{ Our First Alt-Weekly Interview }
The New Yinzer Editors

[ On Saturday, 2 February 2002, the editors of The NewYinzer were interviewed for a newsbrief in City Paper, a alternativeweekly newspaper in Pittsburgh. It became an experience that they both dislikedand relished. Sitting down and talking about it, they found themselvesgrumbling and giggling and happy and sad and changing the subject often. Thefollowing is a transcript, with the dull parts taken out. These dull parts areavailable, by request. Ask nicely. ]

D: So this is your first time being interviewed?
J: Yeah it was. Was this your first time being interviewed?
D: It was.
J: Yeah, what did you think?
D: Well I'm trying to remember what I was thinking about andexpecting on the way there, and then contrast that with what I was thinking onthe way back. And I think it was pretty much all that I expected.
J: Mmm-hmm.
D: Having been on the other side of the interview I justsorta played the whole thing out, and I guess it followed how it followed.
J: I think I was a terrible interviewee.
D: Oh yeah?
J: Yeah. Because I just kept looking at what he was writing and I was looking at his technique as an interviewer and I think I kinda got lost in his shorthand.
D: Yeah he was writing really fast. I can't write fast at all, which is why so many of my interviews are taped.
J: Yeah?
D: Yeah like this one.
J: Yeah and he didn't write anything that resembled words.
D: Right.
J: Just lines.
D: Do you remember what you were thinking about on the waythere?
J: On the way there I was really excited, I was giddy. I waslike, "Oooh I'm gonna be a rock star!" Then I got there and I waslike "Oh this is what other people feel like." You know?
D: Yeah.
J: And I know that in my course of interviewing people I'vetotally twisted their words, by accident or on purpose. And I was like,"It's gonna happen to me."
D: Right.
J: And I just didn't want to do it anymore when we gotthere.
D: Oh, see I didn't even think about it at all, and I shouldhave because that's totally the [interview] effect, and I know that. It's nottwisting people's words, it's just selective quoting. I just wasn't expectingthat to happen to me at all and then when it did I was like "Did I saythat?" And it's weird because you can't say "They quoted me out ofcontext!"
J: Right
D: Because he just selectively quoted. And [the effect is]just a little bit creepy.
J: It was creepy, and I couldn't stop reading it the day itcame out. I read it like 18 times in a row.
D: Oh did you? I read it once and then didn't read it foranother 5 or 6 hours.
J: I read it a lot.
D: <laugh>
J: <laugh> I couldn't stop. I kept trying to. I wascounting words and spaces and just studying it.
D: Jeez.
J: And just, it wasn't me. I was totally just not attachedto it at all.
D: Did you read it online or in the paper?
J: The paper.
D: What was your first reaction when you saw it?
J: Oooh we got a box.
D: Oh yeah, the box.

...

D: Did you show it to your friends and did anyone comment toyou?
J: My boss read it when I was there.
D: Is this at the new job or the old job?
J: Old job. And he said, "Why do they put words inbrackets that make absolute sense?" and I had to explain when yourequoting someone and you need to...
D: Right.
J: He didn't know that. And that's about it.
D: That's all you got? I see.

...

J: I talked to my dad right before I left.
D: Oh yeah?
J: And I was like, "Im really excited" and hesaid, "Don't say anything dumb."
D: <laugh>
J: <laugh> And I was like, "Dad your sounsupportive." And...he was right.
D: Did you catch yourself saying dumb things in theinterview?
J: Yes. And I cringed.
D: Like what?
J: I dunno. I did make a lot of jokes because I was nervous.
D: Right yeah. Im surprised he actually caught a lot of thethings I said because I mumble so much.
J: And you talk real fast.
D: Yeah, real fast. And he was writing real fast.
J: Well he's a pro.
D: He is, he's very good. I was very pleased, all in all.

...

D: Um, do you think this press is too early in our development?
J: Yes. I wanted City Paper to discover us and hitthemselves in their head and be like, "Oh where have we been forthe last three months?" but now they're like, "We're so cool, wefound them first!"
D: I know.
J: And I dont know what to do now. Im afraid we're justgonna fizzle. I know this issue isn't really gonna be read that much, and Imworried about it.
D: Yeah, we have to figure out things to do to combat that.Were sending out more press releases and all but....
J: The intern.
D: Right! The intern! Poor girl, she doesn't know what she'sgetting into.
J: She really doesn't....

...

J: I think it's telling that we continually lapse into other topics.
D: Right.
J: About anything that's not this.
D: I know.

...

D: So let's pretend you have nothing to do with the New Yinzer, and so your flipping through and you read that piece. Well first of all your flipping through and you see it, do you read it?
J: Yes because it's in a box. I was really, really happy about the box.
D: Yes. Even though it was stuck in the crotch of the page.
J: It was in the crotch.
D: But the box did help. Okay so you stop and read it, do you go to the site? And do you think it's something you oughta check out repeatedly?
J: Um, I would go to the site.
D: Yeah.
J: Not that day though.
D: No?
J: No. I would think about it. And no I wouldn't go back ever again. <laugh>
D: Yeah, "Id hate it immediately."
J: Id hate it immediately and Id never go back again.

...

D: I guess the message, then, for us is consistent and unending proliferation of our "brand".
J: <laugh>
D: Keep up the p.r. and the marketing so that people read us. And maybe they don't think to go that same day, but just keep reminding them
J: Yeah. <makes steering-wheel hands> Your driving your car through Oakland.
D: Right. <makes l-shaped spreading hands> Billboard.
J: Billboard. Side of the bus. Myron Cope loves it.

...

D: Okay so let's say you could pick the next place youd like to get press in, where would you pick?
J: Oooh.
D: Print or television media.
J: Locally, I think strategically Id like The Pitt News to do a story because that hits more people every day than City Paper hits in a week.
D: Oh yeah. What about The Tartan? Does it matter to you whether it's Pitt kids or CMU kids?
J: Just The Pitt News prints 30,000, so it's so many more kids. I like The Tartan, though, so that would be good.
D: Yeah.
J: How about you?
D: Well I want press everywhere. But I kinda want the Trib to scoop the Post-Gazette.
J: <laugh>
D: Because Ive contested for a bit now that the A&E coverage of the Trib often rivals and sometimes surpasses that of the Post-Gazette. And I think the Trib is more open to younger people writing for them. And Id rather somebody younger do a piece on us.
J: Id like us to be where we don't really belong.
D: Yeah, like Alan Coxs Web page.

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D: Has anyone commented to you how it's very McSweeney's-esque?
J: No one has said anything because I don't think anyone knows.
D: Yeah my friend called us on it.
J: I can't remember the guy's name.
D: Which guy, Dave Eggers?
J: Right.
D: So let's say someone in a future interview asks us, "So you guys are a lot like McSweeney's." Should we just flat-out say, "Yeah, well we are?"
J: Yeah: "We really like it."
D: Yeah, just sorta unapologetically say, "Yeah well, we're fans. What do you want us to do? There's nothing like that in Pittsburgh."
J: Yeah. And we'll just throw in Might magazine. And they'll be like "Oh wow, Ive never heard of that." And we'll be like, "Yeah." Upper hand.
D: <laugh>
J: <laugh>
D: Exactly you gotta keep the upper hand on all these interviews. We have to start coaching each other.
J: We have to do better next time.
D: Yeah.
J: Let's hope there's a next time.

...

[ The City Paper newsbrief can be read here. The New Yinzer's editors would like to thank Marty Levine for his patience and skill and general coverage. Also, of course, thanks to Tricia Reinhold Masley for the box. We feel it helped a good deal. ]

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