I don’t remember the first time a reporter interviewed me. The law school where I worked wanted to see or hear its name in the news more often and had PR firms and in-house employees to help that happen. I presume that through such efforts I was called by a reporter.
Over the years many news organizations contacted me. Primarily they were local newspapers or television stations, but I also got calls from networks, magazines, and newspapers from around the country as well as from some foreign news organizations. This did not lead to fame. Few people I knew, except for some students, ever mentioned any of the appearances. (Perhaps the most excited were some male students who spotted a quotation from me in Maxim magazine.)
After a while I felt comfortable with most reporters, but early on, when I was on TV and I still had vanity, I did have concerns about how I looked and sounded, and if the interview was not shown live, I would either try to be home when it aired or I would record in on a VCR. These early appearance almost always concerned some New York City criminal case. My office was near the courts, and when a noteworthy case was being tried, a local TV reporter sometimes would swing by the office after the day in court concluded and tape me. The reporter would come with a technician who set up the sound and the camera. I would be at my desk with the reporter sitting a few feet away and the camera shooting me over the reporter’s shoulder. (I would try to have included in the frame the daughter’s drawing of sneakers I had hanging on the office wall.) The reporter would ask a question or two—only a brief sound bite was usually sought. After that, the reporter almost always wanted a reverse shot to get the reporter’s face. The camera would be placed behind me and aimed at the reporter. The interview was over by this point and the sound turned off, but the reporter would ask that I continue to act as if I was still responding to questions, which I tried to do, although acting has always made me self-conscious.
I watched one of the first of these appearances with the daughter, who was then ten or twelve years old. I don’t actually remember anything about the substance of the interview or who the reporter was. I only remember the daughter’s reaction. The camera captured me from mid-chest up over the reporter’s shoulder, and the daughter quietly said, “That’s good. They didn’t get your stomach.” Then they shot over my shoulder at the reporter, and the daughter even more quietly said, “But they did get your bald spot.” (Should a parent reward, punish, or ignore such honesty?)
And I still love the daughter.