Twitterview with Tim Gihring, @TimGihring

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hello everyone! If you’ve read a @MNMOmag lately, you’ve probably seen the name @TimGihring, multiple times. Let’s learn about him!

Welcome @TimGihring! Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, go to school and what interested you?

Tim: Milwaukee suburbs in the 70s/80s. Neighbors: brewery workers, cops, insurance salesmen. It was like Laverne/Shirley.

In HS a Brit Lit teach asked what I wanted to do with my life. I saw an issue of TIME there and said, write for mags.

Loved the Milwaukee Public Museum, which was/is full of dioramas of buffalo hunts, elephants.. Great place to dream.

Did you write say for the HS paper, or did you take more of a serious approach to writing in college?

Tim: Wrote for HS paper, was quickly moved to columnist where I wouldn’t have to interview anyone. I called the principal..

I’d called the principal at home when she was throwing a party to ask about an ice rink. She was not thrilled.

My HS column got me into a different kind of trouble after calling the basketball players pituitary cases.

The column was a mix of opinion, serious commentary, and outright fiction. Not unlike a magazine, perhaps.

At the U’s J school, I was getting bad grades for using too many adjectives and metaphors. So I decided to go into..

I studied advertising. Joined the U’s Ad Club. Was set to be a copywriter until I graduated and was hired by the AP.

You definitely like to “stir the pot”. So what led you to come to MN from WI and work for @MNMOmag? The weather? 🙂

Tim: Learned about MN from Dylan bios, was fascinated by Dinkytown. First week here I tracked down his old pals.

Also, WI/MN reciprocity: back in the day, I paid far less in tuition to go to the U than MN students.

This was in the early 90s, and the West Bank hadn’t changed that much since Dylan’s day. Saw where he came from.

I’d quit the AP in ’99 to travel (India) and first started working for @MNMOmag in ’00.

What kinds of things did you cover for @MNMOmag when you first started? Has the magazine biz changed much since then?

Tim: First thing I wrote for @MNMOmag: an essay about visiting Laurie Ingalls Wilder museum with a Japanese friend.

Visiting from Japan, all she wanted was to visit Walnut Grove. Buying souvenirs turned into a major culture clash.

Wrote about a Hmong pastor who disappeared in Laos. Rural auctions. Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids.

There were tears, apologies, and some pewter Little House figures. That essay led to my full-time hiring

Mags have less room now, fewer pages, tighter budgets, thus less room to play.

5 years ago, you’d decamp outstate for three days to report, fly to Mexico, etc. Not since the recession.

That said, mags still offer the best opportunity for storytelling, in words/pics that I can think of @MNMOmag

When you’re not writing a story or doing research, what do you like to do, or where do you go to relax in the TC’s?

Tim: I show photography at Studiopolis in the Northrup King Building. XC skiing when I can: Wirth Park is my backyard.

Sparks is my local resto. Shopping at BlackBlue. The Cedar, Fitz.

Also subscribe to ridic # of mags: New Yorker, Nat’l Geo, Smithsonian. I’m a serial subscriber.

I know that you’ve got to be going, so thank you for your time and sharing some of your thoughts on #MNMOtv today! Take care. 🙂

Tim: Thanks, Joel!