Geoff Calkins is a Harvard-trained lawyer who clerked for a U.S. Court of Appeals judge and worked for a 500-man firm in D.C. He took all that training and became … well … a sports writer. A very good one, in fact, who was an influence on me when I interned at the Memphis Commercial Appeal in the summer of 2000. In our chat, we talk about how tough it is for a sports writer to maintain a daily radio show and the energy time suck that it becomes, why Harvard Law produces U.S. presidents and Memphis sports writers, and why Calkins has stayed as a columnist in mid-sized city despite opportunities to leave.
He also discusses why he’s OK hosting a daily radio show in Memphis while his former colleague John Robert is the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
I’ve always known Dorie Turner Nolt as a journalist, and her credentials were impressive. But when she took a job as the press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, I knew I needed her as a guest on the podcast. In our chat, we talk about the consequences of a journalist going to the “dark side” world of public relations, how she views a reporter’s job now that her paradigm has shifted, how the Associated Press (her former employer) has adjusted to a new age of journalism, and why she would uproot her life for a job she knows she’s not going to have in three years after the current presidential administration leaves office.
Plus, you need to hear her story on how she became the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ 9/11 reporter as a 22-year-old fresh out of college. Frankly, Turner provides one of the best stories we’ve ever heard on this podcast.
And at the end, I couldn’t help but tell my shaking-hands-with-George-W-Bush story that gets a little explicit at the end (and not because of anything President Bush did).