Interviews and Webinars

Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?

Aaron Elstein, Senior Reporter, Crain’s New York Business
Aaron Elstein 

Aaron Elstein started his first newspaper job working for the Illinois Times, before moving to New York in 1996. Utilizing the New York Times’ classified section, Elstein found and landed a job atAmerican Banker writing about bank mergers. From there Elstein headed to a job at the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, where he wrote about stock-market fraud. At the end of 2002 Elstein landed at Crain’s New York and has been there ever since. He acknowledges that a sense of humor and the ability to take advice from editors can be very helpful in the journalism profession.

Which aspects of your work do you find the most challenging? The most rewarding?

AE: The best part is when reporting a story turns into a journey of some kind and develops into something you didn’t expect. The challenging part is actually getting to that point. For me, the best way to get there is to find people affected by the things I’m interested in. It takes a while to get to that point, because often journalism means understanding complex issues, but once you’ve got that you can focus on the people involved and that will make for an interesting story no matter what it is.

What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?

AE: Journalism has never been an easy way to make a living but on good days it’s a tremendous amount of fun. Don’t let anyone talk you out of this, if this is what you want to do. Readers stick with good story-tellers, and over time, you can learn to take facts and turn them into narratives about people and their triumphs or tragedies. In the meantime, you’re learning new things and that’s pretty great.

If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism—in any area—what might that be and why?

AE: I would like to spend much less time in front of a screen, because the most fun part of this job is talking to people and learning stuff you didn’t know. That doesn’t happen, at least not for me, on Zoom or Twitter.

What do you think about the role of technology in journalism? Is it helpful? harmful? Something in between?

AE: There’s an awful lot of excitement about tech and new delivery mechanisms. A good story is a good story whether it’s printed on paper or in pixels. Social media has given everyone an open microphone and we all know that creates new problems. There are many more media outlets than when I started, though the number of really good journalists has stayed the same. There is opportunity out there.

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