Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Backgrounds in Virtual Interviews

My husband and I were watching CBS Sunday Morning, as we often do, and one of the guests was Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize Winner, biographer, historian, and political commentator.  As is typical in the coronavirus era, she was being interviewed from her home.  "Look at all of her books," I said, as usual trying to make out some of the titles on the book binders.  "Do you see 'Prairie Bachelor' on her library shelves?" my husband teased.  "Not yet!" I replied.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Later in the show, 98 year old Norman Lear, television writer and producer, was being interviewed.  "You know, you could write a blog about the backgrounds people choose for their virtual interviews," my husband said.  Sure enough, Lear was seated in front of a book case, which also held an  Emmy award, as well as books.

Norman Lear

 I liked my husband's idea.  After all, when I was interviewed for the Fort Hays State University Alumni award last fall, I had carefully chosen the book cases in our dining room as my background.  

Lynda Beck Fenwick

I decided to conduct an experiment, so I went into the kitchen where I could still hear the tv to listen to Sunday Morning, and turned on our small tv to begin switching from channel to channel to take screen shots of whomever was being interviewed at that time.  The first thing I learned from my experiment was how much of our tv viewing time is consumed by commercials, for I was often detained, channel after channel, by commercials!

Peggy Noonan
On NBC's Meet the Press, Peggy Noonan, author, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and perhaps best known for having been the speech writer for President Ronald Reagan, was being interviewed.  A book case appears in the right side of the picture.  
Chris Christi

On ABC This Week I encountered my first fire place background when Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018  and today political commentator and lobbyist, was being interviewed.

Laurie Barrett

Science and the coronavirus were the topics at MSNBC, where science journalist Laurie Garrett was being interviewed.  The crowded book case behind her contained books on many topics, but she is known for her science background and for having won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for her series on Ebola published in News Day.

Andy Puzder

On Fox Business the guest was Andy Puzder, former CEO of CKE Restaurants, and unsuccessful nominee for Secretary of Labor.  He appeared in a traditional executive's room, in which the edge of what appeared to be a fire place could be seen, and on the opposite wall, a painting.  

Jeff Van Drew


New Jersey Republican Congressman and dentist, Jeff Van Drew, was the guest on Fox News.  His setting included a fire place.

Erie Foner

At CNN the guest was Erie Foner, a History Professor at Columbia since 1982 and the author of many text books.  Behind him was a crowded book case.

My informal survey began about halfway through CBS Sunday Morning and ended before that program concluded.  Much of my time was taken waiting for commercials to end, even though I moved from channel to channel trying to avoid the delay of the commercials.  I was not selective about choosing the guests in this survey.  Whoever happened to be on the screen on each particular channel became the subject of my screen shots, with whatever background each of them had chosen.

Perhaps not everyone has found it as interesting as I have to observe the background choices of those being interviewed virtually from their homes.  I also enjoy seeing the art people have on their walls, only one example of which appeared in this impromptu survey.  It is also fun to see those who select kitchens for their backgrounds.

The occasional dog bark or the cat who springs into the camera frame add interest, and enthusiastic plant lovers sometimes display potted plants or cut flower displays in vases.  Flowers can be seen in both Noonan's and Christi's screen shots. Some of the settings in the background seem carefully staged, while others look as though not a single thought was given before inviting thousands of viewers into the person's home.

To be honest, when the coronavirus threats are banished and everyone returns to their studios, I am going to miss being invited into their homes.

1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

Notice differences between people with books and people with fireplaces? :) ;)