Press Talk: Of high heels, being obnoxious & tweets

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor



I was sitting in my office mostly minding my own business when a reporter pops in.

Apparently, Star magazine suddenly began appearing in our company mail (dramatic pause required here) with my name on it!

So the reporter says, “You got some’ splainin’ to do!”

OK, the reporter didn’t exactly say that, but she was wondering why my name was on it.

She was leafing through it as we spoke, then concluded she might as well take it with her. She was heading to the beach for a little R&R, and surely there was some engaging reading to be found in its pages.

Hey, somebody might as well get something out it. As she was leaving my office, I was pretty sure I saw something about how some diva had given birth in designer heels.

Hey, come back here with that magazine! 🙂


I probably could have used some easy reading myself since I was heading to a news editors conference in D.C. But I would have little free time. So off I went to the airport … sans the magazine and high heels.


As I was waiting for my flight to D.C., I noticed an elderly gentleman — with an “Iwo Jima Survivor” hat on — approach a younger military man.

They didn’t know each other before that moment, and I was struck by the strong bond they immediately had.

I took out my iPhone, approached both men and asked if I could record their conversation. I had no idea what they would say, had no idea what I would do with the video. But there I was.

Later, I decided to write my column about the chance meeting. It appeared earlier in The Columbian.

After I finished the column, I contemplated how life for journalists is very different than most. Many would consider being a little obnoxious a bad trait. But I had to be a little obnoxious to approach these two gentlemen to have a chance at making a video of their conversation.

I ended up getting a lot of positive feedback for my “Two Warriors” column. A column that almost never happened.


One of my favorite sessions at the D.C. media conference, ironically, dealt with being a little obnoxious. It was put on by Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University chief digital officer/journalism professor. His topic was about the social media experience.

Sreenivasan is a big believer in Twitter. If you’re not on it, if you’re not using it … come on now! (You can find my Twitter handle at the bottom of this column.)

The information industry is quickly moving to a mobile platform. And if you ain’t got no handle, you be livin’ in the past. In fact, experts now acknowledge that in three to five years, most information will be received by mobile devices.

Twitter — which is now run by a former Chicago stand-up comedian (don’t judge) — is that headlinelike info spurt that allows you only 140 characters.

And what was one of Sreenivasan’s points when tweeting out? Be a little obnoxious. Get up out of your seat, get a photo and use it in your tweets. Just text will no longer be enough.

Hey, what more can you ask for in a column? High heels, warriors and being obnoxious.


Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, or Twitter:

Don't Do Stupid Stuff Mugs