Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup

News Writing Interviews Home


Brian Williams  On News


I think news at the Enquirer is the inside story on things that people are talking about. If it's Michael Jackson, it's what's really going on. If it's other celebrities, we do an awful lot of celebrity news, television, movies, what's happening with them. I think it's also basic life demarcations. Birth, death, marriages, divorce. I think it's those kind. Our news is usually about individuals. And then it's also, it's also about unusual accomplishments. Or significant accomplishments by individuals.

I think we're incredibly reader-friendly. It's what people want to read about. Every page of the 56 pages is something that somebody wants to read about. There isn't anything there that we have because we want to show people that we have it. There aren't stock market reports, there aren't comics, it's what people want to read about.

More and more, I think we're coming closer and closer together. I think the mainstream press is moving to more personality journalism, I think much more stories about those transitions in people's lives. It's much more about individuals. I think we form a community in this country by the celebrities and the various icons that we have. And we've been covering those for a very long time, and I think the rest of the press is catching up with us.


Well, I don't know why they back off, I can't speak for that, but I think the reason that we do is because what, once again, we're competing with that daily paper. And in order to compete we've got to give the readers something that they're not gonna get there. I mean, everyone knew Magic had AIDS. We watched the announcement here in the newsroom. So the next question is, what's the story? Well, how did he get it? That's the story. And the story is he said he got it this way. Is that true? Magic is a good case in point because there were tremendous rumors as to how he got it. And our job became to find out whether those rumors were true and the ones were true, to give the reader the inside story. What really happened? How did Magic get AIDS?

For example, when you write the lead to a story there's always the question of how long should a lead be? And I think maybe there's a rule somewhere that says it shouldn't be longer than 32 words or something like that. And it has nothing to do with how many words it is, it's is it something you can imagine yourself saying? If you said it out loud, do you have to go huuuuuu! (inhales) in the middle of it and go on again, 'cause if you do, then you should, then the lead's not there, you should try again.


The Enquirer stories, the founder of the Enquirer sent a reporter with an unlimited expense report account to find paradise on earth. And he'd travel any place he could, and that was his job, and finally, I think it was three, six months he's out, and finally calls back and tells his boss, "I found paradise on earth." And the boss said, "Are you calling from there?" and he says, "Yeah." And he says, "Well, if there's a phone, it ain't paradise." And nothing ran, and a small fortune was spent. We're more accountable than those days. But that's kind of the spirit of what we do.

# # #


On Sources | On Writing | On Reporting | On Ethics and PR | On Himself and the Enquirer

Brian Williams Home | Back to News Writing Interviews Home




© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy