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Interview of David Blume

 
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Clive
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:05 am    Post subject: Interview of David Blume Reply with quote

Interview of David Blume

By

David Rothman



When a mutual acquaintance told me about David Blume, I thought David would be an ideal subject for The Horse’s Mouth. David, who retired in 1999 after a long career that took him first to various news organizations, then to the music industry and back to the Los Angeles Times, agreed to do this interview for The Horse’s Mouth via e-mail.

As a young man, from 1949 to 1954, Dave Blume worked on the staff of United Press in Boston. While working there, he obtained an English-Journalism degree from Northeastern University in 1953. Dave also worked on the campus newspaper, the Northeastern News, and became its Editor-in-Chief in his final year at the university.

From 1954 to 1956 Dave worked for the U.S. Army PIO and the Fayetteville , N.C. , Observer. Remaining in Fayetteville , Dave worked for Station WFNC from 1956 to 1959, news and sports, in! print and on the air.

In 1960 and until 1975 Dave took a break from the newspaper and broadcast fields to work in the music industry. Then in 1975 he became an editor for the Los Angeles Times, retiring as Assistant Editor of the Sunday Magazine.

David Blume lives in Los Angeles , California , with his wife, internationally known folk singer Carolyn Hester, who is also known for her success in forwarding the early careers of Bob Dylan and Nancy Griffith.


David Rothman – David, welcome to the Writers-Voice and thank you for agreeing to do this interview without ever meeting me. Have you had a chance to browse the website?


David Blume – Yes.

DR - You’ve had a long career in the news business. What first attracted you to it? Was it everything you imagined it would be?

DB – In selecting a college, it would have either been for musical studies or journalism. Since music school’s first two years would have been all repetition of what I already knew, and because I had an avid interest in sports, I chose journalism. It proved more interesting than I expected.

DR – What proved more interesting? Was it the college experience or the career experience? Did you enjoy the gathering of the news more than the writing of the news stories?

DB – The college experience involved much editing of people who didn’t write very well, increasing my adeptness at noting what was wrong in the copy coming before me. The UP experience included less news gathering than getting information on the phone and stealing stories from the daily newspapers. Working for the wire service, however, was a great experience in writing under a constant deadline and not wasting words.

DR – What is the U. S. Army PIO and what were you doing there?

DB – The Public Information Office at Fort Bragg , N.C. , was responsible for all military and post news items being fed to outlets off the base. I was one among others who wrote news releases.

DR – Dave — would you rather I call you David or Dave? — Which did you enjoy more, writing news stories of being an editor? Did you write any editorials?

DB – Suit yourself about the name. More people knew me as Dave. Intimates seemed to prefer David. I enjoyed both writing and editing, but since there were many more writers, I thought I better served editing. No, no editorials for the Times.

DR – I had better call you Dave until I get to know you better. Did you edit editorials as well as straight news stories?

DB – No.

DR – How is editing a newspaper different from editing books?

DB – Probably relating to speed. Newspapers need speed, books less so. Wire service writing and editing require incredible speed. Books get more thought because there’s time for it.

DR – Are we talking about line editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, or about editing for content? Did you get into freedom of speech issues?

DB – Not freedom of speech issues, though other editors before me and after me at college had trouble there. All the other items, yes.

DR – Has the newspaper business changed much since you first entered it? What changes are most evident from your point of view, for good and for bad?

DB – A great deal of change. Back a ways, except for late-breaking stories, writers had more time to turn in their stories. Now under more corporate pressure, they have less. Editors are more rushed as well, leading to some sloppy editing on occasion. Also, upper editors in general lean more toward playing it safer now. . The business seems to have changed greatly, pressed by economical factors such as declining circulation and reduced advertising revenue.

DR – Dave, Assistant Editor of the Sunday Magazine? First of all, could you tell us about the content of the magazine? Did you select articles from freelance writers for it?

DB – The type of content changed considerably with each of several re-creations of the magazine. No consistency. I worked on articles selected by others. I also edited the letters page and several of the columns, including that of the late Jack Smith.

DR - What did you do while working in the music industry?

DB – I was and still am a pianist/keyboardist in the jazz, rock, folk and pop fields. I also was an A&R man for major labels and a staff and independent record producer. In addition I wrote songs and had a couple of substantial hits.

DR – Cool! Can you tell us more about the songs you wrote? Did you write the lyrics and compose the music?

DB – Sometimes I wrote the entire song, sometimes only the music. Among the many songs I co-wrote was the 1965 hit by The Cyrkle titled “Turn-Down Day.”

DR – Did you have any formal song writing education?

DB – No.

DR – Were you influenced by any particular songwriters?

DB – Perhaps my co-writer, Jerry Keller.

DR – Did you meet Carolyn during your journey in the music industry?

DB – Yes. We were introduced by another songwriter.

DR – While you were writing news and editing news at the various organizations, did you do any creative writing, such as fiction or poetry? Have you done any since you’ve retired?

DB – No, my more creative inclinations were musical.

DR – It sounds like music serves as both a creative and emotional outlet for you. Is music still a big part of your life in retirement?

DB – Yes. I still tour with and accompany Carolyn, play jazz and do much solo playing.

DR – Do you read much for pleasure now or did you in the past? What do you enjoy reading?

DB – Everything: newspapers, on-line, magazines, non-fiction and fiction.

DR - I learned of you from Joe Bock, a close friend who met you while folk dancing at your club, Cafe Danssa. What can you tell us about the club and your involvement?

DB – It’s a part-time venture, founded in 1965 by others, bought by us in 1975. Through the years it has featured folk dancing of various nationalities including Greek, Israeli and the Balkan countries. At the moment, the greatest interest is in Brazil and the samba.

DR – Dave, thank you for letting me visit you. Could you visit The Horse’s Mouth and answer viewer questions for a while once the interview is posted?

DB – Glad to.
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Linda
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave and welcome to the Writer's Voice.

How do you feel about internet publishing and the effect it will have on literature in the future? I know that the technology is here to stay, but I can't help but wonder where this will go in our future. Most of my life, even as child, revolved around a library.
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Heidi
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:41 pm    Post subject: Interview questions Reply with quote

Good question Linda anxious to hear his reply! I would like to ask you something concerning journalism/newspaper industry. Do you think there's still any intergretity in the newspaper business? I think that a lot of stuff I read in magazines these days (not just tabloid crap) is inaccurate or biased. Lots of newspapers I read are local but don't put in many postitve stories about high schools or other places/people/things in the area. Do bad things/happenings make for more interesting/exciting stories? What's your opinion?
Okay so that was more like 3 or 4 questions Laughing (sorry about that!) but hopefully you understood what I was asking! Thanks for taking time out to let yourself interviewed I read the whole thing which isn't something I don't always do because of the length of most of these interviews; plus Dave asked you some interesting questions that piqued my interest! Smile
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda and Heidi, I just received an e-mail from David Blume. He will visit the Horse's Mouth to answer your questions as soon an he can break away.
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Linda
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dave,

I look forward to his comments.
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda, Heidi, and others, I apologize for David Blume. He has not responded to your questions nor has he responded to my recent e-mail. I hope he is well.

David Rothman
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DaveR
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With deep sadness, I must inform members of the Writers Voice that David Blume passed away last week at the age of seventy-four after an illness which began before this interview. I did not have the pleasure of meeting David and knew him only by way of e-mail.

There will be a memorial for David tommorrow, Sunday, March 26 at Cafe Dannsa on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. David and his wife Carolyn founded the club some years ago, and I met Carolyn breifly at a friend's retirement party at the club a few months ago. David did not attend that party.

Carolyn, our deepest sympathy to you and your family. May David rest in peace.

David Rothman
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