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Larry King: In Praise of the Non-Journalist

There was a time when a journalist did not have to boast of being one. Now it is hard to believe, but at that time and perhaps only in that country an interviewer was not obliged to demonstrate that his knowledge was always vastly superior to that of his interviewees. They did not think. They made jokes about themselves. They did not show their political affiliation. They did not interrupt to demonstrate their obvious importance. They did not look at the camera with the solemnity of someone who gets up every morning convinced of the Pulitzer they will receive at the end of the day. Although he gets up in Alcobendas.

Faced with such pretentious behaviors in the exercise of the profession was the model Larry King, who has surely died with him and who he himself defined with two words: to look silly. That simple He confessed that his big secret as an interviewer was to play the role of who is there without really knowing why. This clever starting point forced the interviewee to simplify his answers, and that allowed in a matter of minutes to articulate a conversation in which the interlocutor ended up confessing aspects of his life or his work that he would never have revealed to those intense and incisive super journalists. that we are used to now. Overall, this guy is stupid, many interviewees would think.

And it wasn’t. Someone capable of hiding his political ideology from more than 50,000 interviewees and millions of spectators cannot be a fool; He would surely be conservative from the waist up, as Carlos Mendo, who admired Larry King, used to say, but we’ll never know. It is true that the world is different, that glasses are smaller, that braces are not worn and that getting married eight times is old, but what many of us can learn from Larry King is something as simple as the manual of a good interview. You have to treat your interviewee well, but not only the one who later shares memes and tricks with you. You have to let him speak and even – although this may seem very complicated at first – you have to listen to what he says. You have to assume that maybe, just maybe, you as an interviewer are discovering things because – oh, sad reality – you don’t know everything. You have to know where you start instead of starting by knowing where you want to end. And thanks to Larry King, who never considered himself a journalist, we have learned that looking foolish is very bad on the networks but it can give you a lot of play in life. Especially if you are not.