Because my beginning journalism students often use the phrase “when asked about” as a default (lazy) transition when introducing quotes, I created a scenario in which President Bush apparently expresses a desire to be a cuddly bunny. In the example, a child reporter gives him two options — would he rather be a robot or a bunny; that is a rare case in which a “when asked about” transition is necessary.
A few years ago, I updated the scenario to refer to President Obama instead. Today I came across an amusing example of a real-world exchange in which context is important, but in this case the reporter did not resort to the lazy “when asked about.” Note that this amusing exchange comes late in the story. (The headline “Wiener blasts TV as ‘dying industry'” would be misleading.)
In due course Weiner, posing for cell-phone snapshots and conducting the occasional voter encounter, made his way through a thicket of boom mikes and video cameras to a waiting SUV. But before leaving, he had a dialogue with Jenesis Vaughn, an eight-year-old second-grader at PS 182 who told the candidate she wanted to be a journalist one day.
“What kind of reporter do you want to be?” Weiner bent down to ask the vivacious little girl. “A print reporter, for a newspaper, or a TV reporter?”
“I just want to be a TV reporter,” she answered eagerly.
Weiner bent down lower, as if to impart a confidence. “You might not want to go into TV—it’s a dying industry,” he told her. “The Internet is where it’s at.” —The Daily Beast.