Melody Kramer

People Who Don’t Work in News Commenting On The News: Meet Mike

20 Feb 2015 by melodyjoykramer

Meet Mike Mahaffie. He’s  53-years-old and lives in Lewes, Delaware. His wife just retired from teaching and now works at a toy store. (He’s jealous.) In his words: “We’ve been married for over 26 years. Happily, I think. We share a love of music and the arts. We are re-entering the local theater life, now that the girls are grown. I act (and sing). Karen plays flute and is a trained music therapist.”

For work, Mike manages a very small office that builds websites for state agencies. They also manage the state web portal,, and set the design and behavior standards that all state agency web sites are supposed to meet.

Mike’s the middle child of a family of seven kids. “Life was never quiet,” he says.  “I grew up in the DC suburbs and I’m the only member of the family to move out of state. I take great pleasure in spending time with my brothers and sisters, theirs spouses, and their kids. But it’s nice to have a whole state to myself.”

Mike answered lots of questions about how he gets his news. If you’d like to participate, let me know.

1. How do you get your news? This is open-ended on purpose.

I commute about 45 minutes a day, by car, with SiriusXM and two local NPR stations. I’ve come to prefer talk to music on my commute (with the exception of some Friday afternoons and days that are particularly stressful).

Mornings, I switch between Morning Edition and a selection of Satellite channels (BBC World Service, POTUS, and Pete Dominick’s show, though that’s now on next-day repeat during my commute). Afternoons, I spend more time with NPR, generally the new station in Dover, WDDE, which focuses on Delaware news in the local blocks. My alternative, WSCL is in Salisbury, MD, and not nearly as good at local news.

Throughout the day, I dip into Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is better for news, though big stories surface on FB. I use If This Then That to push long reads on Twitter that interest me into my Pocket account to read when I have a chance (breaks, lunch, evenings).

I still take the daily headline e-mail from the statewide newspaper, but don’t usually click though.

And Karen and I still have a subscription to the local bi-weekly newspaper for hyper local content.

2. Please send me a gif or video or poem that captures your attention span.

I do love the Tiny Desk concerts. Just enough but not too long. Here’s my most recent favorite.

3. How do you take your coffee?

Black. With sugar.

4. Who’s doing it right in news?

I’m still a fan of NPR. I like CBS Sunday Morning. When bad things are happening, I’ll go to CNN until they start with panel discussions.

5. What’s the first news event that you remember?

Watergate. It started when I was 10. My father was a lawyer in the US Justice Dept. who hated Nixon (my take at that age) and who was, I think, just a level or two down from the Saturday night massacre. He resigned shortly before Nixon did and when Nixon gave his farewell speech, Dad’s best from from Justice brought a case of beer and they watched it like it was a major sporting event.

6. What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

We made the call to take time off in April and spend a week in Charleston visiting our younger daughter. I don’t take enough time off. I’m trying to get better about that.

7. What do you absolutely hate about the news?

In local TV news, I hate the forced happy talk banter. In all TV news I hate fluff pieces and lifestyle news. It’s cliché now, but I also hate the black/white R vs. D, who’s right/who’s wrong debates. I prefer to just hear the facts.

8. What’s the best podcast or audio to listen to while doing chores?

Marc Maran’s WTFPod is my go-to for the gym, lawn-mowing and the like. All Songs Considered is a close second.

9. How do you get your news when you travel around the world?

It’s rare that it happens, but BBC is dependable and broadly available in English. Otherwise, Twitter for headlines and links to long reads.

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