A Special Q&A With L.A. Times’ Top Of The Ticket: Andrew Malcolm

by Adam Popescu

In early May, I got the chance to interview Andrew Malcolm, one of the hardest working men in journalism. At 70 hours a week, hands on keys, this Pulitzer finalist’s got West Coast Chops for days.

Here’s @latimestot on some of the biggest issues in the news business: social media, journalistic credibility and branding, and freedom of information.

Title: National online politics columnist LATimes.com.

What do you do: write about US politics.

How do you use social media / typical day: I work noon til 4-5 am writing numerous political items for the column, communicating with almost 64,000 Twitter peeps, handling comments and doing research.

Your take on the relationship between social media / journalism: To the world they are very similar. To the aging generation within journalism they are totally different, which is why they qre dying out.

Why is it important: It’s the next evolutionary step in modern media.

How do you create a brand presence: Let your readers see inside your mind and how you processed whatever you are writing.

Do you use social media away from work / if so, for private accounts or on behalf of company: almost exclusively as part of my work.

How many hours a week do you work / How big is your staff: I have no staff. I have a part time partner occasionally. I work about 70 hrs/week.

How did you get involved in journalism: I heard a foreign correspondent speak to my prep school in the 10th grade and decided that night I wanted to be one.

How did you get involved with social media: An LAT editor asked me to study existing politics blogs and design one that I would like to write for latimes.com.

Is there a disconnect between online / print media: Yes definitely. But it is fading as print people either leave or recognize the inevitability of change.

Does online media skew / appeal to a younger audience or are older people starting to get it: Older people have gotten it for a long time. i.e. me

Are bloggers journalists / Is it mutually exclusive: Yes in a different way. They both tell stories.

Do you trust social media sites (Twitter, Facebook) as sources: As sources of tips only.

Is something credible because the online world say it’s so, before mainstream media reports it: it’s like a parallel universe with its own rules, protocol and standards. It’s wonderful if you don’t take it too seriously.

How did you hear about the Osama assassination: Email news alert.

Are you a fan of a paywall system (pay for content): I don’t care one way or the other.

WikiLeaks: good or bad / Why: Helpful for online readers to get rapid research sometimes verified.

In the future, what innovations would you like to see: I have no great needs. I can work with what I have—cellphone, Bberry, laptop, car and satellite radio.

What do you not like about social media (any limitations): There are wandering political cadres on all sides that have no interest in learning but only in propagandizing. Not unlike print journalism only more pervasive.

Brief career path: Northwestern Univ BSJ, MSJ. NY Times 1967-93.
Communications Dir Gov of Montana 1993-99. Dep Comms Mgr Bush-Cheney campaign and Laura Bush press secy 1999-2001. LATimes Editorial Board 2001-06. Pulitzer Finalist 2004. Online politics columnist 2007 til present

Adam Popescu