Gabriel Sherman: ‘I Learned by Doing’

It all started at the New York Observer.

LongformPodcastLogoThe man of the media reporting hour is the latest guest of the Longform podcast. At one point, Evan Ratliff asks the New York magazine national affairs editor Gabriel Sherman how he learned to do the kind of reporting that informs the reporter’s 2014 book about Roger Ailes and subsequent, follow-on reporting about Fox News.

Sherman’s answer:

“My mentor was Peter Kaplan, the late editor of the New York Observer. I showed up there when I was 22 or 23 years old. He just throws you into it. I didn’t go to journalism school, so I learned by doing.”

“My first journalism job was writing the weekly real estate column, where you try to report and find out the biggest sale of the week. And you’re competing against the New York Post, and The New York Times. And so, I just got obsessed with wanting to break the biggest apartment sale of the week, which I knew nothing about, real estate. I was living with a college friend in a shitty apartment. So it was hilarious that I was writing about $20 million deals.”

“But both the pressure of having to produce a scoop every week, and the discipline having to pick up the phone and cold call real estate brokers. It was basically like telemarketing. And in my personal life, I’m a total introvert. Like my wife and I, if we go to a cocktail party, I’m just like sitting by the wall. I don’t schmooze and mingle. But when I’m reporting, I’ll just call or talk to anybody. Because it’s work. So I got over my fear of talking to people.”

Sherman’s first New York cover story, published in late March, was “Testing Horace Mann.” Like the Ailes book, a good late summer read if you did not previously catch up to it.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Colleagues Bow to One-Armed Scoop Machine Gabriel Sherman
Friends, Colleagues Remember New York Observer Editor Peter Kaplan