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Kyle Munson: Editor Leaves Words of Wisdom for Future Critics,
Online Journalists

BY AMY HANSEN

Munson, at an SPJ meeting in October, explains how he let his natural interests lead him to online journalism.
PHOTO BY MYRIAM FALLON

Kyle Munson, Online Entertainment Editor for The Des Moines Register understands the benefits of the online news media. With the advances of technology and unlimited space, the online phenomenon has been constantly evolving since he first got into the professional game.

"Online is driven by continuous updates. There is new news at 10 o'clock or noon. We're able to track our audience at a micro-level online," Munson said.

As editor, Munson is in charge of the management and development that expands The Register's coverage online. His responsibilities include the wholesale redesign of their website, editing and shooting video, maintaining blogs and overseeing the development of an online restaurant database.

An avid reader of The Register for all of his life, he enjoyed its legacy of professionalism and career promises. In 1997, Munson started as the pop music critic at the newspaper with a focus on concert and music reviews. He spent many hours on the job covering beats and seeing shows.

"The newsroom can be a loud and frantic environment. As a writer, I would find it more relaxing to be writing at night with jazz in the background," Munson said.

Unfortunately, as a music critic, it is impossible to please everybody all the time. The important thing is to know how to defend an opinion and be able to back it up. An honest bad review can have a greater impact that a mundane good review. As a journalist, Munson feels he has the responsibility to look out for the average fan, an ethic he uses in all of his work.

He also jokingly remarked that many music critics perversely save their hate mail.

"I really enjoyed the days before email because anonymous phone were just so much fun." Munson said. "Feedback is better than indifference," he added with a smile.

Munson offered other tips for future music critics. He highly recommended listening to everything possible because critiquing truly is a process of immersion. Also, he said a good critic should research and know his or her subject.

Overall, the best advice that Munson can give to students today is to have a very comfortable knowledge of technology for online media. Also, be eager to demonstrate the ability and willingness to learn. He recommended that it is important to know even the basic skills of cameras and videos.

"Still," Munson acknowledged, "at the core remains good writing and good judgment."




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