Job Shadow: Columnist at work interviewing with headquarters tour

By Lara Bockenstedt

A columnist for the Star Tribune, Gail Rosenblum, interviewed two people for her upcoming feature and gave me a tour of the Star Tribune Minneapolis headquarters Friday, Oct. 16.

Previously, I found her work to be both progressive and humanistic. I was especially motivated to contact her due to her recurring feature titled “duets” – a column designed to focusing on two people who have a unique relationship. This was the column for which she was interviewing people.

Gail Rosenblum interviews Natalie and Shannon for her next

Gail Rosenblum interviews Natalie and Shannon for her next “Duets” feature. © 2015 Lara Bockenstedt

I’m almost positive I shadowed one of the world’s kindest columnists. She immediately responded to not only let me know that a job shadow would work, but that she would let me join her during an interview for her next duets article.

The interview took place in in Prior Lake, Minn. There were certain aspects of Rosenblum’s interview I noted:

  • she dressed similar to the interviewees and took her shoes off at the door upon seeing that shoes were not worn in the house.
  • Before delving into any other questions, she explained the duets column and asked the ages and professions of the two ladies
  • she had a separate appointment made for the photographer to take pictures.
  • Rosenblum didn’t record the interview. Nor was she frantically taking notes for the entirety of the time. Instead, she only used her notebook occasionally.
  • The interview was conversational and flowed naturally. Even while writing in her notebook Rosenblum wore an expression conveying the fact that she was still paying attention.

As the interview continued, the exigence behind duets became clear. The two ladies being interviewed, Natalie and Stephanie, had a harmonious chemistry that translated well into an interview environment.

After leaving the interview, Rosenblum and I made plans to meet back up at the Star Tribune headquarters in Minneapolis. She gave me a brief tour, which has been the home of the paper for less than a year. Afterwards, we sat down and she shared her journey to her current job.

Rosenblum received her bachelor degree from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Afterwards, she spent time working for papers in Austin, San Antonio, as well as being a freelance writer. Upon completing her masters at the University of Minnesota, Rosenblum began working for the Star Tribune as an editor of the variety section. For about five years she held this position until she began to miss writing and switched to being  a full time reporter.

Listen from 1:14-2:27

Rosenblum has written a book titled “Hundred Lives Since Then” published in 2011. She taught several classes on journalism at the University of Minnesota as well as St. Thomas University. 

Rosenblum shared advice. “write every day,” she said. “Journalists don’t have the luxury of writer’s block.”

One of my teachers in high school used to frequently quote Mark Twain. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born,” he said, “and the day you find out why.” While I came into the job shadow with the intent of being a journalism major, the experience cemented it.

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