OLD Media Moves

No biz reporter ever says, “I want to cover the insurance industry”

January 14, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Jim Romenesko has excerpted some parts of an interview that New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg did with Longform.org about journalism and his career.

Here is an excerpt:

On interviewing with the New York Times

“I went in and I said, ‘I want to apply for the telcom job.’ We talked about telecom. I know nothing about telecom, but I sort of read clips on the plane. But then [Times business editor] Larry Ingrassia said, ‘So if you could have any beat at the New York Times, what would it be?’ I kind of knew [this was coming] because this is an inevitable question. I said, If I could cover anything, I would cover the insurance industry, and I would cover the insurance industry like it’s this passionate, passionate story — the same way this guy David Cay Johnston had covered taxes — because everyone owns insurance and no one ever thinks about it, and there’s people’s lives at risk, and there’s companies that essentially want to extort you for your premiums.

“The reason I said that is because I knew that no one had ever said that to Larry Ingrassia. No one ever says, ‘My passion is to cover the insurance industry,’ and the number one thing you want to do when you’re writing a story or when you’re applying for a job or doing anything else, you want to be surprising. People love surprises.”

Read more here. Editors note: I covered the insurance industry for the Tampa Tribune and BusinessWeek from 1990 to 1995, and started a magazine called Insurance Investor in 1999. It lasted until 2002. I thoroughly enjoyed covering the insurance beat.

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