A face for newspapers? Bob Kravitz starts his WTHR journey
By Bob Kravitz, WTHR Sports
Here's when I knew my life had changed. It was Sunday afternoon, normally an afternoon reserved for golf and/or mowing the lawn, and here I was at Sephora in the Fashion Mall, surrounded by women getting makeovers. (For you guys out there, Sephora is a makeup store that promises perfectly puckered lips among other feminine joys).
After 10 minutes of skulking around and acting like I was looking for a gift for my wife, I finally worked up the courage to ask one of the saleswomen for help.
“I'm starting TV tomorrow and I need TV makeup,'' I told Dee, my helpful Sephora employee. “I don't know if that means foundation or rouge or whatever, but I need something so I'll look decent in front of the camera.''
As those words sputtered from my lips, I thought of the phrase used by my old Star compatriot Mike Chappell, who suggested this was akin to “putting lipstick on a pig.''
At which point, Dee took some pictures of my skin tone, firmly pronouncing that I was an R2D2, or an R49SP, or something I can't remember. “You have very unique skin tones,'' she said. “There's a red undertone to your skin.''
I was kind of hoping she would tell me what season I am. I was thinking “dead of winter'' as an appropriate skin palette.
She came back with a bottle of Make Up For Ever Professional Face & Body along with a brush I could use to re-paint my outdoor deck.
“Just a pump and a half is all you'll need, maybe two,'' Dee said. “Make sure you spread it evenly.''
I should mention that at this point, my wife has lost all known respect for me, and is nearly doubled over with laughter. “Would you like some eye liner, too?'' she wondered.
Twenty four years I've been dealing with this.
(It occurred to me at Sephora just how much time and money women spend to make themselves attractive. With a guy, you're lucky if he shaves and showers every couple of days).
Anyway, so I've got my foundation now, I've got some decent clothes that fit better than the infamous “mom jeans'' of the Indy Star promotional shoot and I've lost five whole pounds, which is akin to rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.
I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. deMille.
Now, don't misunderstand: Most of my new job here at WTHR will be on the website, doing the same things I've been doing at the Star the past 14 years. I'll be entertaining, edifying and generally annoying the readership in the same manner I have been for a very long time. I'll be writing columns and blog posts (the Krog lives) four to five times per week, writing about the same things — the Colts and Pacers, IU and Purdue, motor sports and some high school issues, not to mention any national news that captures my attention. And yes, the Dopey Report Card will make its way to Meridian and WTHR.com.
The last two weeks, I've had more people come up to me and say, “Man, I'm gonna miss your columns.''
No, you're not going to miss my columns. This is so simple, even my computer illiterate father has figured it out. Bookmark my page here, if you haven't done so already. Download the WTHR news app. Do it now. I'll wait a minute while you take care of that.
TV? I'll be doing some, but I'm guessing my makeup will last a couple of months. I'll do some TV here and there — maybe some Sports Jams, maybe some taped commentaries, maybe some shooting the breeze with Pretty Boy Calabro, Rich Nye and Jason Spells — but I wasn't hired to be a TV Guy. Let's just say that the only way I'll be doing your evening sports news is if a giant sinkhole swallows up Pretty Boy, Nye and Spells all at the same time. In which case, I'll reprise the role of Albert Brooks in “Broadcast News.''
I've been asked by several people recently why I made this jump from the Indianapolis Star to WTHR and WTHR.com.
Let me say this first: I didn't escape the Indianapolis Star. I didn't grab the first lifeboat out. Every minute of my 14 years there was a joy. I worked with people I deeply respect, and I continue to have warm feelings toward everybody who has and continues to work there. I've spent my whole life in print journalism. I bleed ink. It holds a very special place in my heart.
Am I concerned about the future of print journalism? Obviously. But I didn't leave due to those concerns. It played a small role in the decision, but a very small one.
In the end, this was the toughest decision of my professional life.
But it was time for a change. It was time for a second act. These kinds of opportunities rarely come along for 54-year-olds in the final chapters of their career. I had a chance to interview at ESPN back in 2000 or 2001 (I can't recall which), and I turned it down because I had a very young family at the time and didn't want to spend half my life on the road. But when WTHR came along and offered a chance to do what I love to do — which is write — with a little bit of TV mixed in, I had to pay attention. WTHR is the No. 1 news station in the market, and nobody is a close second.
As a viewer, I've always watched WTHR, for a number of reasons: One, no station has the amount of institutional knowledge this station possesses. Guys like Rich Van Wyk and Kevin Rader don't even have to go to Conner Prairie; they covered Indy back in those days. Two, I want to see what kind of hat David MacAnally is wearing every night. The man has more hats than I have heart stents, and that's saying something. I also know that Angela Buchman's lifelong wish has been to work with me, and I wanted to make her dream come true.
WTHR dominates TV news, and now they want to dominate the digital side of things. I hope I can help a bit in that regard. Keep in mind, every time you click on my column, an angel gets its wings and I can feed my family. But I'm not begging. Much.
As was the case with my Star column, I want to reach out to readers and I especially want readers to reach out to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my office number is 317-655-5785. I want your feedback because A) it helps me justify my own existence and B) I want to do occasional mailbags with your emails.
I also have this request: I know this city and state are filled with great sportsmen and women who aren't named Luck, George and Catchings. I want you to help me identify them so I can write about them or talk about them on television. Who are the unsung heroes in this town? Who are the selfless souls who make sports so important and vibrant in our city. Help me out. Let me know. You've got the email. Use it.
Otherwise, though, it will be business as usual in this corner of the digital universe. I'll be writing about the things that concern you. Like the Colts offensive line. Like the Pacers without Lance Stephenson and Paul George. If you liked me in The Star, you'll like me here. If you didn't like me in the Star, well, what the heck is wrong with you, anyway?