Newspaper Writer Objects to Strangers Calling Her on the Phone and Asking Questions

Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum has a column complaining about a plague of high school students

bothering her with questions

about her writing.

Not a week goes by that I don’t hear from at least one high school student who’s been assigned a paper about my writing and wants me to tell her what to say. They come from every region of the country, and from private schools and public schools alike. Often the student’s paper is due the next day and she needs me to get back to her immediately. Frequently this desire is phrased without a great deal of punctuation or even the use of spell-check.


I have to write a paper about your article about Facebook. One thing I don’t understand though is what you think about Facebook. Can you please explain?

OK, so these children—from

every region of the country

, such a burden—are supposed to write about Meghan Daum. And rather than, or in addition to, reading her writing by itself, they have the nerve to want to call her up and ask her about it. Don’t they care that she has her own work to do? What makes them think that getting material for their writing assignments is so important that someone should have to drop everything and answer their ignorant, misguided questions?

Maybe Daum should take a stroll around the Los Angeles Times newsroom and have a look at what the people are doing there. Calling up strangers and interrupting them to ask questions about their business? In a hurry, because your writing project is due? It’s called “reporting.”