Losing the Paper Chase
JOSSIP REPORTS — Last year, Adam Brock became a household name as one of the stars of MTV's sleeper hit The Paper, which followed Cypress Bay High School's newspaper, The Circuit, as its staff navigated deadlines and adolescence. After initially vying for (and losing out on) the paper's coveted editor-in-chief position, Brock allowed the cameras into the rest of his senior year, where he proved smart, dedicated and ambitious, if not occasionally prone to histrionics. The exploits of he and his associates allowed aged media types everywhere to rest a little easier, confident in the future of journalism.
But that was then, before the global economy was in dire straits and the tidal wave of media bloodletting had stained Manhattan's streets red. Begging the question: Can any young person looking to dive into the world of media be as eager as the Circuit kids were last year? In the case of Brock, now a freshman at the University of Central Florida, the answer is no. As in, fuck no.
JOSSIP: Things in media being the way they are, are you still as excited about becoming a professional journalist as you were on The Paper?
Adam Brock: I've actually given up writing. With this economy like this, I just thought to myself, I don't want to be another one of those people in a cubicle, struggling. I know that I could amount to other, bigger things [in journalism] if I wanted to, but my passion now is politics. There's something about politics that just strikes me more. After the show, I felt I was obligated to major in journalism, but that's not my calling anymore.
So the shifting economy really scared you away?
The shift in the economy was definitely a major factor in my decision. I've been seeing so many people laid off and so many people looking for work. I was actually just talking to one of [the producers of The Paper], who was at UCF to film a new show, Engaged and Underage, and she asked me if I could do her a favor and go out and help flier the campus. I was like, "Don't you guys have PAs doing that?" But they didn't. They couldn't afford PAs. When large media corporations like MTV are running out of money, it makes me think about how I don't want to be out of work by the age of 30.
Are a lot of your friends in journalism also pulling out?
No, pretty much everyone from the show is staying in journalism. I just didn't want to do it anymore. This election pretty much solidified that for me. My heart's in politics now.
Who was your candidate?
I was a very hardcore Hillary supporter, but then, of course, I ended up going for Barack Obama.
Do you want to continue writing at all?
No. I'm still looking into media, just not the writing aspect of it. Especially now that there's a lot of Web-based media—I'm just not really into that kind of stuff. I feel like I'd much rather sit back and read an actual copy of the Sunday edition of The New York Times as opposed to getting it e-mailed to me.
Ha! Do you know you're speaking to an Internet publication?
[Laughter] Nothing against you guys, you just never know with the Internet these days. I just finished a class about how to find credible sources, and it was a wake-up call to me. Wikipedia, where people can just add stuff every other day, is frightening, and people are using that as a source. The new ways of journalism just seem less credible to me.
It's odd to hear someone as young as yourself lashing out at emerging technologies.
Yeah, I know. It's not like I don't love my BlackBerry. I do understand the whole Internet phase, I just don't agree with it. I'm very pro-paper, but I know that, no matter what direction the economy takes, [media] is heading into the new era where everyone is heavily reliant on the Internet. I don't want to be a part of that. But whatever America needs the most, that's what it should get. Even if it means going to the Internet.
How's The Circuit doing? Will it be online soon?
They're doing very well. They're actually are starting a new Web paper to go along with the printed one. I'm happy for them; they're making their mark. Maybe not as much as we did, but they're trying to follow in some very big footsteps.
Indeed. Now, last question, different direction: Why did MTV choose to not highlight your gay love life the way it did other characters' straight love lives? Did you have any say in that?
Yeah, I asked the producers to not play up the fact that I was gay. For the most part, I was out, but my grandmother, who is Cuban and very traditional, didn't know—I'm pretty sure she still doesn't. It's not that I was ashamed – I'm very proud and have nothing to hide – I just feel like it was something quite obvious and unnecessary to the storyline. I saw how they portrayed [costars] Giana [Pacinelli] and Trevor [Ballard], and I'm very thankful they didn't portray me like that. I had a boyfriend at the time and he wanted no part of it. It was a discussion I had with my mother and the producers. I just told them I didn't want that at all.
Any plans for after college?
I'm thinking now I'd like to go to law school. I'm crossing my fingers for Harvard.