Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Microstory 1313: Virus (Part 1)

Seasoned Reporter: Ma’am, I know what you’re going to say, but I just can’t do it. I have too much integrity.
News Editor: Seasoned Reporter, I’ve told you a thousand times; this is 2020—call me sir, just like you would anyone else.
Seasoned Reporter: And I’ve told you twenty-eight times to please refrain from hyperbole around me.
News Editor: Tell me more about what you said in regards to your integrity. What does that have to do with an assignment that your superior has given you?
Seasoned Reporter: The girl you want me to interview is a joke.
News Editor: She’s a woman.
Seasoned Reporter: Okay.
News Editor: Do you have a problem with the fame that a woman has garnered from her work?
Seasoned Reporter: I know everyone thinks that I’m sexist, but I’m not. I don’t care whether she has a—um—I just don’t think that I would call what she does work. She makes silly and uninspired videos that unchallenged middle schoolers can watch when they should be doing their studies.
News Editor: Have you watched any of the videos yourself?
Seasoned Reporter: I’ve not.
News Editor: So, you don’t know what it is you object to.
Seasoned Reporter: I don’t know to what I object.
News Editor: Right. Do you think maybe you shouldn’t be prejudging this person? Maybe you should take a look at her creations, read a little bit about her accomplishments as an influencer, and take a look at her outreach statistics?
Seasoned Reporter: I know that sounds reasonable, but I object to the very idea of an influencer. It is not a job in itself. I am an influencer. I reported on war zones, and I was the first journalist to get the maniac who inspired the film Severe to open up. These are the things that I did, and because of how they impacted my audience, I influenced the world. Kids these days aren’t actually doing anything. They just decide they want to be influencers, and because of their looks, it happens for them. They don’t have to be thoughtful, or provocative, or do anything at all. They just need clicks. My nephew taught me that word. It’s all about clicks.
News Editor: Is that any different than what you do? Sure, you tackle serious issues, but you’re still just as preoccupied with readership and viewership as any of us. If no one sees what you’ve done, then does it really matter? Are you more important than Miss Viral Sensation just because she focuses on entertainment instead of news?
Seasoned Reporter: I would prefer to not answer that.
News Editor: I think you just did.
Seasoned Reporter: Now, wait. You can’t just infer—
News Editor: I’m going to phrase this in the form of a question, and leave it up to you to decide whether it really is a question, or actually just an order that’s been disguised as an option. Do you understand what’s about to happen?
Seasoned Reporter: Umm...I think so.
News Editor: Then here’s the question.
Seasoned Reporter: I hate airquotes.
News Editor: Are you going to interview Viral Sensation, like you’ve been told, or are you going to continue making problems, and giving your boss a headache?
Seasoned Reporter: ...
News Editor: ...
Seasoned Reporter: I’ll do the interview.
News Editor: Great answer. What was it like, being the interviewee for a change?
Seasoned Reporter: I didn’t love it.

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