I asked Wall Street Journal reporter James (Bob) Hagerty about his reaction to his mother’s fame — Marilyn Hagerty wrote the Olive Garden review that went viral last week — and how his parents influenced his decision to go into journalism. He sends this email:
I’m proud of my mom’s reaction. She always told us, “Don’t take any guff.”
As a boy, I learned how to interview people by tagging along with my mom as she interviewed farmers and people in small towns. She noted that people tend to say their most interesting remarks after you close your notebook. My parents both helped me learn to write. Growing up in a house strewn with books and magazines helped. I founded my first newspaper, known as Worm Killers, at age five. But it was my older sister, Gail, who really inspired me when she became editor of her high school paper and brought home what looked to me like a very professional product. That decided me on a career in journalism when I was 13. My sister became a judge.
The University of South Dakota’s Volante points out that Hagerty was editor-in-chief of that paper in 1947 and 1948, and that USA Today founder Al Neuharth was her assistant managing editor. “I was Al Neuharth’s boss, and I’ve never let him forget that,” says the 85-year-old newswoman.