At a staff meeting a few weeks ago, Essex Media Group’s Creative Director Spenser Hasak advised reporters to identify a topic they are genuinely interested in and have fun attempting to write a local story about it.
Immediately, one of my strongest passions — second only to journalism — came to mind. A wave of hesitation followed. I thought, “my biggest interest is so mainstream” and “there’s no way I can localize Taylor Swift.” A few weeks passed and a story fell into my lap. My piece in last week’s edition of Marblehead Weekly News proves there is always a local angle.
After more than a decade as a dedicated Swiftie, I wrote my first story about the icon. “Yes, it’s her: Taylor Swift’s ‘Anti-Hero’ video features a casket from Marblehead co-founder’s company” ran on the front page.
It was a story about Titan Casket, a company whose co-founder lives in Marblehead, and its product’s feature in Swift’s music video for her song “Anti-Hero.” I’ve written hundreds of stories throughout my journalism career, and —Hasak was right — the Swift in a casket story was one of the most fun to produce.
If you haven’t noticed, Swifties can be a bit obsessive. Personally, I grew up in a religious family and Swift was one of the only mainstream artists I was allowed to listen to because she didn’t curse in her music. I know I’m not the only one.
As a longtime Swiftie, I hypothesize that Swift’s extraordinary success can be attributed to the fact that over the course of her career, she consistently gains but rarely loses fans.
When I went to report on Titan Casket’s feature in the “Anti-Hero” video, it was the first time I’d approached a story without needing to do much research at all. It felt as if I’d been preparing to write it since her debut.
At past publications, when I’ve had the opportunity to write a love letter to her music or a ranked list of my favorite songs, I’ve declined. I was waiting until I could contribute something original to the Swift discourse.
Regardless of the unusual nature of my contribution, I’m grateful Marblehead afforded me the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, and now, I can’t wait to read my colleague’s pieces inspired by their passions to come.