Video: How Not to Interview the Tech Community

I never liked getting picked on for being a nerd in Junior High through High School, and nor do I like now, fortunatly, I get paid to be a geek now. 😉

I do enjoy watching a reporter named KTLA’s Eric Spillman, getting called a “Jackass” and his journalistic credibility being questioned after taunting technology lovers on the street by asking them “If they’ve ever seen a naked woman”. Although Eric received an Associated Press Television-Radio Award for “Best Live News Coverage, he clearly has failed the following interview:

What’s interesting to see is that this video (now on Digg) above is now climbing the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for Eric Spillman’s name as well as many blogs citing his name. There’s actually an upside for Eric on this he could use this to gain even more attention from the internet if he plays his cards right, but there is a lesson to be learned. While picking on nerds will always pander to one’s short term ego, it doesn’t pay off in the long term.

Update: Eric has issued an apology, “Mea Culpa, YouTube Viewers” does it seem authentic? He should be apologizing not just to YouTube viewers but the technology audience in general, betta watch out or Steve Jobs will put the hurt on ya! (link via Ryan Ozawa)

28 Replies to “Video: How Not to Interview the Tech Community”

  1. My favorite is ‘Is this journalism to you?’ Hopefully, he learned his lesson – he tried to make the community look stupid and in the end, he ended up looking a little foolish.

  2. Ignorance!!

    Ignorance to think that all geeks, nerds, etc. live in a small hole and do nothing but play with their gadgets.

    The worm has turned indeed.

    Hail to the geeks!

  3. When I think of the people standing in line to pay for iphones, I don’t think of pimple faced kids in junior high, I think of intelligent, well paid, business leaders that I frequently interact with.

  4. Dave L: I agree, it’s a Triumph ripoff.

    Mr. Spellman – I know Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is a friend of mine. You, Mr. Spellman, are no Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

  5. Hats off to the man for standing up for himself, rather than just grinning and wishing it was over already.

    Eric was bullying and he knew it – hence the whole lead in of “should I, huh?” His apology strikes me as “not realising that technies are sensitive souls” rather than for behaving badly, to be honest.

  6. Dave L is right…Triumph was the first thing I thought of. But the difference is that Triumph and the Star Wars ‘nerds’ was like a comedic roasting at a party; everyone was laughing, especially the people laughing at themselves. This was just an unfunny guy trying to steal a bit at the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong guy.

    But it doesn’t matter if the guy is funny or not. It’s free publicity. No one’s going to stop watching this show because of an inocuous attempt at bad humor. But maybe some more people will tune in hoping to see him bungle another joke live on the air. And in the end, it doesn’t matter why people are watching, only that they are.

    My immediate thought was that this was like Comcast and the sleeping technician….but i can’t really think of a good parallel example of someone screwing up, getting swept up in groundswell, not making the situation right, and still benefitting from it in the end. Know what I mean?

  7. Julie (#5) – LOL from someone old enough to remember the original line from 1988.

    I found it interesting that Eric Spillman chose to apologize to the YouTube viewers. Jeremiah thinks Spillman should apologize to the technology audience. I think he should be apologizing to ALL of KTLA’s audience, regardless of their technical expertise of lack thereof. KTLA’s morning show is (admittedly) supposed to be happy news, but that didn’t look like it was too happy to me. At least the late Hal Fishman didn’t have to witness this “interview.”

  8. As if the initial clip was not insulting enough! The “apology” in my opinion was anything BUT authentic. After watching the attempt at an apology on YouTube, ( it wouldn’t have surprised me to see them throwing high-fives and bumping chests if he was in-studio with the rest of them.

    “Be nice to geeks… you’ll probably end up working for one some day.”

  9. “Have you ever seen a naked woman?”

    Wow, did he REALLY ask that question during his “so-called” interview?

    Ignorance indeed. Just because you wait in line for an iPhone does not imply you are a geek who’s never seen the likes of anything but a computer screen.

    As Jeremiah mentioned, the iPhone to me = intelligent, well-paid and cutting-edge business leaders.

    Hope this guy learns his lesson as this video makes it way up the viral chain!

  10. You would be surprised at who I met waiting in line for my iphone. I also happened to see two guys speaking about a potential job opportunity. These were not kids for the most part.

  11. 1) Since when has local TV news been “journalism?” Not since I can remember. Of course it’s stupid and the reporter is a lightweight. In fact…
    2) This whole “story” is the ultimate in light, puffy news non-entities.
    3) The way I see it, the guy with the glasses has a major pole up his can. Lighten up! There were so many other ways he could have responded to get the reporter to move on, like saying, “Well actually, I saw your wife naked last night.” Just cuz you’re cranky because you’re being exposed for acting like a moo moo cow by waiting in line for hours on end for a product that will be readily available in 14 days, don’t take it out on a reporter who makes $74,500/yr. and is just trying to get a yuck. From my perspective, this was strictly about humor rather than “picking on” somebody. Jeez!

  12. Actually all it seems is that the station folks probably had a few laughs about geek stereotypes the day before and Eric Spillman made a bad call in actually asking the question about the naked woman, instead of keeping it internal. The reaction of the female host seemed to allude to that.

  13. A better story, I think, is the guy who stood up to him and didn’t allow himself to be bullied. I love that he called Spillman out on his inappropriate behavior. Where is he? We need to give him kudos.

  14. Hi J.O.,

    Plenty of jackasses out here. In fact, I think Europeans invented the concept. Not to mention responsible for global turmoil over the past 100 years…topsy-turvy went the world, thanks to a certain bunch of us…

    It’s just the *content* of the thing which makes me ROTF. The obsession with the fact that he asked the poor dude if “he’s seen a naked woman before.” That’s so jejeune! A European wouldn’t care — he’s probably come back with an equally snide retort.

    But hear, hear for pointing it out. I love America, despite the antics. 🙂


  15. He was repeating the jokes from Triumph the insult comic dog at the premiere of one of the three Star Wars trilogies.

    But, as a puppet dog, they were funny and original.

    Here, it was stupid, lazy and unoriginal.

  16. pretty funny that this is from a TV affiliate in the same town where people line up for days prior to an event in order to see vapid celebrities. At least an iPhone serves a function. Makes the reporter/station seem more out of touch than anything, that they’d still be hung up on the tired cliche about geeks & gadgets. I’d guess the majority of REAL journalists are using smart phone themselves.

  17. WOW! I have never read so many responses from uptight people. Can’t anyone joke around anymore? Does everything have to be so “politically correct” that humor is no longer allowed? Get a grip, live life happy… humor is the best medicine! I am a computer tech and I thought it was great… who wants to hear, “Because the iphone is great!” from every person in line? Eric is also a self admitted geek, so what is your problem with him… the news team was just having fun.

  18. Debbie

    Did you fill out the “Fun request form” first? We never have fun around here 😉

    Seriously though, the argument is that news teams, while they can have fun, should also be news credible, asking questions about naked women somehow crosses the line.

  19. I understand, but are you implying that watching people stand in line for a phone (no matter how wonderful the phone is) should be a news story, let alone a credible news story 😉

  20. Yes, it is. I was also shocked. Just cannot believe the amount of coverage it has received!

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