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Staff Q&A: Meet columnist Mike Argento

Mike Argento

To help you get to know our newsroom staff a bit better, a series of question-and-answer posts with each journalist will run on Mondays. This morning, meet columnist Mike Argento. You might have seen his columns on Mondays and Fridays in the Living section, or Sundays in the Viewpoints section — or, of course, online at ydr.com/mike.

Name: Mike Argento
Lives in: Windsor Township
Hometown: York
Position at the YDR: Columnist
Years with the YDR: My first day was Nov. 13, 1982. Do the math. Funny story, the city editor hired me without telling the executive editor. It was a couple of weeks before the executive editor figured out that I worked here. He never thought it was a good idea.
Graduated from: Penn State
With a degree in: Humanities and philosophy
Twitter: @FnMikeArgento
Facebook: Search for Mike Argento
Whatever you’d like to tell us about yourself: I’m a people person. And I own more guitars than any sane person has any business owning.

1. What made you want to become a journalist? I always have written and wanted to write for a living. That, and Hunter S. Thompson. I read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and thought, That sounds a like a fun way to make a living.

2. How do you see journalism changing? We can all talk about digital this and web that, but the bottom line is, it really hasn’t changed much at all. It still is and always will be about finding and telling stories, telling readers something they didn’t know. Just the means of delivering it are evolving.

3. What do you like most about your job? The least? The actual work. There’s nothing better than getting hold of a good story and nailing that sucker down until it’s bleeding. The worst part is the frustration of dealing with people who won’t answer your questions or dodge calls and later call to complain that you didn’t get their side of the story. Jerks.

4. It’s 9:30 a.m. on a day off. What are you doing? Probably writing, working on my fiction. Or, if I had a gig the night before, sleeping.

5. What’s been your favorite project or story recently? Why? Working on the juvenile lifers project and going to Rockview to interview Michael Lehman, who’s been locked up since he was 14. I interviewed him and wrote about him when he was 16 and now, he’s pushing 40, having grown up in prison. He is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I’ve ever interviewed and he’s in prison for life. It was weird.

6. The drink that’s on your desk right now is: Green tea.

7. Your favorite journalism-related blog you read or Twitter feed you follow: I’m not sure whether it’s journalism related, but I love @Wonkette. And Charlie Pierce’s politics blog on Esquire.

8. What’s your favorite movie? Book? Hard to nail down. If I’m flipping through the channels and “The Godfather’s” on, I watch it. Recently, I’ve been trying to get people to watch Bobcat Goldthwait’s “God Bless America.” Brilliant satire and very cathartic. Books are even harder to narrow down. Probably “Huck Finn” or “Slaughterhouse 5” or “Catch-22.” Of recent books, the best thing I read this year was Jess Walter’s “Beautiful Ruins.” Very funny and poignant.

9. What’s your favorite place in York County? Sitting on my deck looking at the trees and watching my greyhound Lester try to catch and maim a squirrel.

10. What’s one piece of newsroom jargon that had to be explained to you? Can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Last week, we ran a Q&A with business reporter Stephanie Reighart. To read all of the staff Q&A interviews we’ve done so far, click on the “Staff Q&As” under “About us” at the top of the homepage.