For a job interview, I was asked to write a feature story about myself. I thought that was a great assignment. Who doesn't like to talk about themselves, and what better way than to write a fake interview with yourself?
In the news biz, a "valentine" is an article that is super flattering about someone, and doesn't really say anything bad or controversial. Well, in honor of this year's Valentine's Day, here are some excerpts from my very own valentine to myself. (I took out the name of the company.) Here it is:
By Ben Moger-Williams
XXX staff hopeful
Ben Moger-Williams sat quietly at his kitchen table in Golden on a recent morning, surrounded by cats. His fingers moved over the laptop keyboard like a World War II wireless operator, tapping out an important piece of intelligence: I would love to work for XXX Newspapers.
Moger-Williams, 35, came to be in this feline-infested kitchen via a strange and roundabout route.
A native of Brookhaven, N.Y., located in the middle of Long Island, he is the son of a writer and a social worker. His years at Bellport High School on the loosely affiliated Bellport Puffins Ultimate Frisbee team secured an enduring love for that sport that he says will never fade. A crush on his high school English teacher also secured in him a love of writing.
THE CHINA YEARS
“My mom says I looked like a Chinese baby,” Moger-Williams said in a recent interview. “I was also born the year that Ling-ling and Xing-xing came to the United States. So, you know, there were signs.”
He soon discovered a love for Mandarin, and excelled in the subject, eventually majoring in Chinese Literature. After a semester abroad in 1992, he decided that China was where he wanted to be after graduating. He was accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese-American Studies, a part of the School of Advanced International Studies, in 1994. After spending a year with that program, Moger-Williams moved to Beijing to live with his good friend Xiaofeng “Peter” Pan.
Moger-Williams also cites several television appearances while in China. He was one of three foreigners chosen to be the hosts of a show commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Long March. He, along with Peruvian artist Martin Salazar Santos and Ukrainian student Yulia [Something] retraced the route of Mao Zedong’s Communist forces as they retreated over 10,000 km in a huge circle around China.
“I got to see some amazing places on that trip,” Moger-Williams recalled. “I learned a whole lot about censorship, too. Most of the good interviews were cut and the show was converted into a propaganda-soaked Communist farce. But it was still awesome.”
Asked if he wants to stay in the field of journalism, he offers a solid “yes.”
“Ultra-local coverage and community news – what I was doing before – are the future of newspapers,” he said. “We used to scoop the larger daily all the time, and what a great feeling that was. I hope to be able to continue to work in a small, flexible environment, where I can be part of a quality news team. That is what it is all about.”
As he types the final words in the application for a job with XXX, he pauses to look out the window. A large cat thunders past his feet.
“OK,” he says. “I have a good feeling about this one. Let’s see what happens.”