Why is the BBC in Blue Earth?
I think I have done a few thousand interviews over the course of my long journalistic career.
But, I am not sure I have ever done an interview where my subject was trying to interview me at the same time I was trying to interview him.
That happened last week.
Perhaps you saw a bearded gentleman wandering around Blue Earth last Thursday, with a notebook in hand and a camera around his neck, asking questions with a decidedly British accent. That is the guy.
He is Tom Geoghegan from the British Broadcasting Corporation, known as the BBC.
Tom had requested some time to interview me about what I thought about Blue Earth, and did I think it was a progressive small town, and, if I did, why did I think so.
Meanwhile, I was trying to ask him why someone from the BBC was in Blue Earth, Minnesota, to begin with. What is the angle? Who are you, why are you here, how did you find Blue Earth and why not somewhere else?
Imagine two bull elk tangling horns, but with both tangling by asking questions of each other. In the end, since he was my guest, I let him go first. Sort of.
I answered his questions and told him what I thought of Blue Earth. Yes, I think it is progressive, especially the City Council. Yes, I think it is on an upswing. I gave him a list of things that are going on here, and what has been done in the past 10 or so years that I know about. It really is a great community I said.
Then it was my turn.
Turns out Tom is based in Washington, D.C., and has been a journalist for a long time. He is the deputy editor of the BBC’s North America digital/online operation. He manages a team of reporter/journalists who are tasked with the job of covering all of North America and presenting stories to a global audience.
A little larger goal than what we have here at the Register. And yet similar in many ways. Just translate covering all of Faribault County to covering all of the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Anyway, it seems Tom has had this idea of trying to get away from covering the big metropolitan cities and find out what life in the thousands of small towns in America is all about. Were small communities slowly drying up and dying? Or were some thriving or at least working hard to remake themselves.
He wanted to find one that had some issues but was now trying to be aggressive and trying to reinvent itself.
It was Jim Beattie of Blue Earth who alerted Tom about our city in southern Minnesota and what was going on here.
Tom then contacted me by email and asked me whether I thought Blue Earth was progressively aggressive and trying to reinvent itself.
After I determined he really was from the BBC and not some scammer, I told him yes, I did. And gave him a laundry list of why I thought so.
Next thing I knew, he was booking a flight out here. He told me last week he decided not to send one of his reporters, but come himself, because he wanted to see this town for himself.
I got the feeling he was starting to fall in love with this place with the unique name of Blue Earth.
After our interviewing of each other, Tom asked if he could take my photo. I said sure, if I could also take one of him. So we did.
His story and photos about Blue Earth will appear on the online version of the BBC in a few weeks. I will try and alert you to that when it happens.
Boy, I sure hope he quotes me accurately, and only uses my smart, clever remarks and not the dumb ones. Now I know how the folks I interview feel.
Cherrio until next week…