Meet Gerry Smith.
Avid golfer. Amazing ping pong player. All around nice guy.
Gerry is also a cyber-security reporter at The Huffington Post, based in New York. Previously, he was a Metro reporter at the Chicago Tribune. Gerry has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. You can read his stuff here and follow him on Twitter here.
1. With the insurgence of cyber-espionage and the popularity of social mediums, how worried should we be about cyber security now and five years from now?
If you believe the experts, we should be worried now. Our digital lives and personal lives have become increasingly interconnected, so it’s getting harder to keep sensitive information away from bad guys.
2. What is the most unique experience reporting has allowed you to have?
One of the most interesting stories I’ve done so far at HuffPost was about the lack of Internet access on the Navajo reservation. Only 10 percent of people on tribal lands have service. It really adds to their isolation.
On a lighter note, I also attended DefCon, a hacker convention in Las Vegas. There were a lot of piercings, tattoos and colored mohawks. I didn’t fit in very well. I was relieved to not get hacked.
3. If someone were new to journalism and trying to break in, what advice would you give them?
Get your foot in the door through an internship. Learn the basics of daily news reporting and try to distinguish yourself by coming up with unique feature ideas. When you’re getting started, be humble and hard working and curious. And stay in touch with former colleagues and friends from school because you never know when they’ll help you get a job in the future.
4. You’ve lived in DC, Chicago and New York? Who’s got the best food, sports and nightlife?
Best food: New York is hard to beat. It has every kind of restaurant imaginable. But I will say this about DC: There’s something special about Ben’s Chili Bowl. Congress would accomplish much more if Republicans and Democrats discussed policy over chili dogs.
Best sports: Chicago. Everyone there is a diehard fan. Soldier Field is packed even when the thermometer is 20 below zero. Wrigley Field sells out even when the Cubs are 20 games below .500. Without Chicago sports to look forward to, I’m not sure how you survive those long, soul-crushing winters.
Best nightlife: Gotta go with New York. The Huffington Post newsroom is in Astor Place, so we usually go to bars in East Village after work. I probably haven’t even skimmed the surface of nightlife here, but there’s always something interesting going on.
5. Obama calls and tells you to get down to DC for the weekend. What are you guys doing?
We’re playing golf at Congressional and I’m letting him win, but only because he’s the president. I consider myself a good golfer, and let’s just say the only other person I’ve ever let beat me on the course is my father-in-law.