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October 10, 2005

Clarification on McDonald's Interview

I sometimes get nervous in classroom situations which stems back to the era in which I went to school, the “good ole days,” when you got your knuckles whacked for saying or doing the wrong thing. Nevertheless, I made the statement that the McDonald’s spokesperson never answered my question as to whether or not McDonald’s targets children. I never directly asked that question. I should have but I didn’t, and perhaps that’s the difference between a novice and a seasoned reporter─you learn from experience. What I did say early in the interview in response to Mr. Riker’s question “What did Spurlock say?” was, that Spurlock accused McDonald’s of marketing to children. I went on to say that he claimed McDonald’s changed their menu because of his documentary. At that point, the interview took off and I was quite honestly so caught-up in taking notes and in asking further questions, that I never got back to the marketing issue. In my favor, when Mr. Riker made the claim that people have lost weight exclusively eating McDonald’s, I asked for names, which he supplied and I checked on-line. Had Riker refused to answer my question, I would have said so in the article.

Posted by NancyGregg at October 10, 2005 2:14 PM


Nancy, you inspire me. It would not have even occurred to me to take the initiative to get a source like that. I just am too shy and not aggressive enough to call up an authority like a McDonald's spokesperson. I have enough trouble just talking to other SHU students that I don't know! I just don't even think about getting sources like that. You are awesome! I am now inspired to try and go out there and get some good sources like that.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 11, 2005 1:26 AM

Lorin, believe me; if I can do it, you can. Furthermore, you do not strike me as being unassertive but as being very intelligent.

Posted by: NancyGregg at October 11, 2005 10:07 AM

you really went above and beyond for that and again i think you should write for the setonian. I think you really followed the Elements of Journalism because you were fair, unbiased, and still got what you wanted. way to go!

Posted by: erin at October 11, 2005 9:36 PM

That really was awesome. I had thought about calling a manager of a McDonalds, but I was too nervous, I never ended up doing it. Great job =)

Posted by: Johanna at October 11, 2005 9:39 PM

Thanks Nancy, I am sure going to try! Part of my problem is that I have a hard time thinking outside the box. I ask myself "who would be interesting to interview?" and "who would have an interesting perspective on my topic?" and I have trouble coming up with answers. I guess I need to train myself to think about who might be a good source for each article I do.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 12, 2005 2:39 AM

Nancy- How do you think the spokesperson would have responded to such a tough question as whether they target children?

Me, personally, I think it's obvious how McDonald's uses children as a hook for parents. But, I don't know for sure all their corporate reasons. That may not have crossed the executives' minds, but I don't see how a company can continue doing something that affects children and not put a stop to it.

It's like a doctor keeping a patient on a medicine that's eating the patient's liver. Sure, there may be a good reason to keep her on it, but it's negligent to not try some other treatment instead.

Lorin- I find a lot of the time the best sources are obvious. Why? Because the obvious ones usually point you in the direction of interesting sources. I recently assigned someone to cover a story brought to my attention by a staff member of SHU. I could already count three sources on my fingers just from the tip he gave me.

People won't always do that, but you could always ask who else they know that was affected by the story.

Posted by: Evan at October 12, 2005 10:06 PM

Heck, I work at McDonald's and I wasn't brave enough to interview someone who works for 'em.

Great job, Nancy. You continue to impress me in every respect.

Posted by: ChrisU at October 13, 2005 1:07 AM

Thanks Evan, that's good advice. Maybe I try to think about it too much and I try to come up with some bizarre source that will help make my article unique and I just end up missing out on the really good ones.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 13, 2005 11:26 AM