miércoles, 18 de febrero de 2015

Talking point: Keeping up with the news

Today's talking point is keeping up with the news. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • How do you normally find: the latest news; what the weather is going to be like; what's on TV; your horoscope; film and book reviews; job/accommodation adverts.
  • Which section of a newspaper can you think of? Which do you normally read?
  • What stories are there in the news at the moment?
  • Do you have a favourite newsreader; film or TV critic; sports writer or commentator; TV or radio presenter; newspaper journalist?
  • Which newspapers, TV channels or radio stations in your country do you think are biased; reliable; sensational?
  • Do you think a newspaper is good value for money?
  • What do you do with a newspaper once you have read it?
  • Is being a journalist a good job?
  • How do you think reading English-language newspapers can help your English?
  • Is there much censorship in your country?
  • Look at the topics below. Decide if you agree or disagree with them:
- It's not acceptable for journalists or anyone in general listen in on their phone calls or hack their email accounts.
- The print newspaper is dead. We will soon read all our news online.
- Celebrities have to accept that the media publishes stories and photos about their private life. That is the price they pay for being rich and famous.

To illustrate the point, watch the interviews Time Magazine did to Diana Sawyer and Larry King for their series 10 Questions with...

I’m Gilbert Cruz with Time.com and I’m here with Larry King host of CNN’s long running Larry King Life and author of the new memoir My Remarkable Journey. Thanks for being with us today.
My pleasure, Gilbert.
What has allowed you to last this long in the job? And do you still enjoy doing it?
I still very much enjoy it and longevity is impossible to explain. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I never wanted to do anything else but be a broadcaster. I'm talking about age 5. I would listen to the radio and imitate the radio announcers. But I never thought … I never thought I'd be seen worldwide. So all of this is … a dream come true. We almost called the book What Am I Doing Here? I still, I still pinch myself.
Do you agree with the perception that sometimes you avoid asking difficult questions?
Don't agree with it. What I … I'm not there to pin someone to the wall. I try to ask perceptive questions, thoughtful questions that get at an arrival of what that person is, how they are and what they bring forth. If I were to begin an interview with, ah, Nancy Pelosi and say, "Why did you lie about the torture things you learnt?" the last thing I will learn is the truth. Of course, what am I doing? I’m putting them on the defensive, purposely, to make me look good. Nothing to do with them, they’re a prop. At that point, they're a prop. Well, to me, the guest is not a prop.
Are you still learning, ah, how to interview people? Or do you have that down – the technique?
That I think I have down. I think I know how to interview people, I’ve done it for so long. It’s who, what, when, where, why. It’s in what order you put ‘em. What you want is a good interview subject. If you’ve got a subject who is, ah, passionate, who has the ability to explain what they do, very well. Who has a sense of humour, hopefully self-depreciating, and a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. You’ve got those four things, don’t matter, president, plumber, architect, singer … you got those four things, no one will click off.
Are you at all concerned at the popularity of ideologically-charged news programs? Programs where the, ah, host is someone who injects a lot of themselves into … ?
I'm not personally concerned, because I know that all things are cyclical. There’s a wave, it comes in, then it goes out. Hopefully, the good, straight, interview - in-depth, thoughtful, listening to the answer, the guest counts - will always be around. So I’m not a fan of the ideological-based show, right or left, because I don’t learn anything. There's something I learned long ago: I never learned a thing when I was talking. I never learned a thing when I was talking. So these shows in which the host is on 90% of the time and the guests 10%, I don't get it. But, I understand people like it. I wouldn’t do it.
How many pairs of suspenders do you actually have?
Never counted 'em. But my guess would be based on the suspenders in New York and in Washington and, of course, at my home …150. Much more ties. The one thing they have to have, they can't be clip-ons. They have to be buttons, over the buttons. So every pair of pants I buy, jeans, anything I buy - we sew in the suspender buttons. I’ve gotten very used to them. I like the feel, I like the way they wear, I like the, I like the look.
What do you think is the greatest challenge that media faces today?
The greatest challenge media faces today is new media. No one can predict tomorrow. The technology is ahead of the intellect. By that I mean … what I thought was fantastic was television – think of it! You and I can be seen around the world in a, in a minute. There’s satellites - what about satellites, how are we to top satellites?
And then guys walk around with little machines and they much ‘em and, and words appear! And you think … So, the new media is … everybody’s a journalist, everybody Twitters and they have websites and they send out … And, and the danger in it, the danger in it is real. When anyone’s a newsman … you get a lot of false stories, overreaction to stories, jumping on stories too quickly, no measuring … And the saddest part of it, is the decline of the newspaper. I love newspapers. In fact, as an aside, I was, ah, having my hair done today and Rupert Murdoch was in the next stall and we were talking. And of course, he loves newspapers and I love newspapers and he said that was … that’s another generation. And it’s sad.
Larry, our last question is from Felicite Osborne from New Rochelle, New York. And she asks: What does life after Larry King Live look like to you?
I don’t know. I don’t know. First, as Milton Berle said, "Retire? To what?" What would I do? I have no idea. I would do something. If I wasn’t at CNN, I’d do something in media. I’d volunteer to work for major league baseball.
That’s nice.
Cause baseball’s my favourite advocation. So I, I would volunteer to do something.
You work so much – you don’t relish, sort of, just, relaxing?
I’m not a relaxer. I’m not … no, no, no. Relax is not in my nomenclature. I, ah,I'm not a good sitter-arounder, if that's a term. It doesn't, it doesn’t suit me.

Hi, I’m Belinda Luscombe. I’m an editor-at-large at Time Magazine. And today we have for our 10 questions veteran TV journalist Diane Sawyer. Diane, thank you for doing this. A reader from Chicago would like to know, were you worried that sticking with President Nixon during his resignation might hurt your career?
I didn’t even think of it. No kidding. Not a minute. I guess my reflexes have been trained by my father particularly that you don’t get to be there for the good times with someone and walk away, no matter how the times got bad and who caused them that you don’t walk away.
Quite a lot of people are interested in your time with Nixon and a reader from Portland has a question: Could you shed some light on what it was like for you during the infamous Nixon interviews?
It was not exactly my role as it was. It was certainly not my clothes I wanna go back, I wanna say to Ron Howard, how did you… where did you go, what workshop did go to get some ancient long, pale, loose skirt.
What were you thinking?
Anyway, we all think shallow, right, when somebody’s finally put us on screen, but I thought the movie captured a lot of the mysterious dynamic that you’re always finding out as you go through a series of interviews like this one and by the end of it, you know…
… who knows what we could do. And after it was over, I think the president revealed very little of his feelings about them to any of us who were out there. He often went in a room, closed the door and kept his own counsel.
We got a lot of questions from women, I guess as you’d expect and a lot of them about your career. So, I’ve taken a few. This one is from Florida. Do you regret not having children and when you were younger, was it ever a choice between your career and having a family?
Never that kind of choice. I’ve always thought that’s a curious idea that you, you have more time and therefore you decide to have children. It’s not the way it happened and I think of myself as a life filled with children in my life and intersecting it in a different way. I have stepchildren whom I adore and I think they depend on me some.
You forgive me. I’m hearing regret. Do you have regret about not having children?
No, what you’re hearing I wish I’d met my husband earlier. That would’ve been great. But I love his children with my whole life.
This is a question from Aretta in Boston. What has been the most remarkable event in your life as a journalist, the one that has made you feel ‘this is why I love being a journalist’?
Every day. Pretty much every day. I am glad I have nachos.
No, is it that… is it because of the variety or because of the access or because of the many things you get to do?
It’s because you don’t know what you’re going to learn.  You’re surprised every day.
Come on, every day?
Every day.
Because some days are gonna be like, you know, boring. I just like some pasta and…
… you know, some celebrity got in trouble.
You know, I’m sure it sounds horrible. I’m sure it sounds irredeemably happy and optimistic, but surely this happens every day, but it’s true, it happens every day.
And lastly, what is the weirdest thing you ever had to do to cover a story?
I made my way into the Russian White House in the middle of a coup attempt when Yeltsin was president and no one was being allowed in the building. Everybody was outside and I went up and the guard said women would not be allowed in the building at this point because it was too dangerous and I said I’m not a woman, I’m an American journalist and there was a momentarily perplexed look on his face so he said, ok. It worked. Sometimes a non-sequitur is as good as a strategy.
And then you’re in sound like ‘Well, okay, what do I do now?’
Yes, when we made our way upstairs, I had interviewed Yeltsin once before and we made our way upstairs, completely empty, and tanks were coming around the building if you remember that when Yeltsin comes out and stands on the tank and we made our way upstairs and I have to say he was profoundly shocked, because we were there, the only ones walking into the building and into the room where they were making the decisions about what they’re gonna do. It was amazing. He just looked up and… because he’d heard the reporting around the world assume that soon it was gonna be a kind of cataclysm and they were holed up in there and waiting to be fired on and go down with the building and he just said, tell everyone we’re not dead yet.
Fantastic. Thanks very much Diane.