The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 12, 2013

Joe Hadsall: Journalists clueless in covering magicians

JOPLIN, Mo. — As a journalist and as a magician, it really bothers me how journalists have generally no idea how to cover magicians.

Entertainment journalists around the world can get into the heads of movie stars, musicians, TV personalities and authors just fine. I've read so many insightful interviews featuring some of my favorites in entertainment -- deep, probing reports that get to the heart of why they do what they do, what inspired them, etc.

But when it comes to magicians, the same entertainment journalists turn into bubbling, effervescent kiddies who get geeked out at the thrill of maybe learning a secret or two, completely forgetting everything about the character of the person who performs those miracles.

I've read some good stories about magicians -- some reporters get it. And the reporters who get it are usually working with words. TV reporters are so focused on the visuals of tricks that they spend all the time on those, without getting into the story behind the artist.

Look no further than late-night entertainment as proof: If you see a magician interviewed as a guest, that magician will always perform, and the majority of the performance will be magic.

Musicians will sing, true, but half the time they'll get just as much time to talk. Authors won't be asked to read their writings. Actors are never asked to re-enact scenes or say famous lines, unless they are Mandy Patinkin.

Yet, for magicians, it's all about the magic. Forget about the background. You'd think that magicians would take more advantage of this lack of serious introspection and use it to further their acts. And many entertainment reporters probably assume that this is exactly the case, and play along.

But magicians are more than happy to tell you about their inspirations, influences and idiosyncrasies. They just don't want to explain how their tricks are done. So stop asking.

Yet for some journalists, trick revelation is all that matters.

 

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