Tag Archives: us news

Furthering my US News career

So currently I’m working on two projects for U.S. News:

1. A end of the summer trivia quiz. Basically, we’re putting together a bunch of puzzles and other questions about summer events. Kind of neat. I’ll probably have to build the online portion of it. Unfortunately my coding skills when it comes to that kind of web site is pretty limited, so I’ll have to get better at that soon. I will get to write a few of those questions as well. The editor has seen that people have been getting into Sudoku (which I posted on a while ago), I’m now in charge of coming up with the math questions. Sudoku, though while a numbers game, isn’t necessarily a math game. We’ll see how well I can do this; my math skills have been slowly decaying over the years. I’m confident I can recover, but I was never that good at math puzzles in general though. It maybe tough for me to find and make up good ones. We’ll see.

2. Getting a hold of celebrities to do a weekly feature on people and their college lives. Basically I call their publicist or agents, get their emails, and then email them the basic pitch of the feature. Some get back to be rather quickly and yes, but most of them don’t get back to you. And of course there are the few who get back to you and decline and sometimes do it in a mean way (a la Kathy Bates publicist). Even fewer are the people who email you back themselves (Mark Cuban for example). It’s kind of a cool assignment, but can be a bit frustrating at times. Some of the people I’ve called are incredibly helpful, but unfortunately they tend to be for the lower level celebrities.

BTW, here are some interesting facts about some of the people I had to contact:

A. Conan O’ Brien went to Harvard (unfortunately, he turned us down).

B. Danica McKellar (Winnie from the Wonder Years) apparently co-authored a math theorem with a professor and another undergrad. So she has a math theorem named after her.

So yeah, I can say I’ve been helping out the company a lot now.

In Praise of Mark Cuban

It’s possible you may have heard this already, but I just have to say it: Mark Cuban has to be one of the coolest, if not the coolest billionaire on the planet. Why? Because he doesn’t act like every other stereotypical billionaire. Even though he owns a movie studio, his studio wasn’t one of the ones suing the file sharing program Grokster. Instead, he was funding Grokster’s defense, and in essence defending the rights of people to file-share (which by the way, even though Grokster lost, doesn’t mean that it is illegal to use). He’s also fighting the music industries lawsuits against people who are using file-sharing programs. Cuban shows up to every Dallas Mavericks game (as the owner), dressed in jeans and a Mavericks shirt. And during home games, he has his email address displayed on the score board. Not to some pr address, his specific Mavericks address, which then sends the messages directly to him and his Sidekick. Unlike most people, he takes the time to read your emails and reply back (not everyone, but a good amount of them). And as if he weren’t accessible enough, he even blogs at Blog Maverick.

So what makes Mark Cuban so cool? Basically, he’s a special guy who doesn’t act special.

Now, you may wonder why I just wrote an entire post on Mark Cuban. Well I wrote him an email requesting an interview with U.S. News. Sure enough, in ten minutes, he got back to me with a very real yes. It was two lines of text and he signed his name “m” on it. Very cool.