Media Moment: William Speros
What led to your interest in journalism?
I’ve always aspired to be a storyteller. I was also curious about so much of the world and wanted to better comprehend its scope. At some point in high school I realized people were the best way to accomplish this and that led to photography courses, the school newspaper, etc. I went on to pound the pavement for years in New York as a beat reporter and cover topics ranging from rumors of electioneering to workplace efficiency to Bronx-born musicians and artists. I’m lucky that I get to still talk to such a colorful spectrum of people and see through so many different eyes.
It was and remains deeply rewarding to gain a person’s trust in order to help us all make sense of the world. There are not many other jobs that come to mind in which honesty and openness are an imperative, so I’ve always worked hard not to embody the ambulance chaser archetype. The poet Tommy Pico once referred to poets as “stewards of language,” and I like to think of reporters and editors perhaps as stewards of truth.
What is something that you would like people to know about what you do?
Design is one of those beats that infiltrates all facets of my life because built environments inform how we engage with the world. Moreover, the evolution of public spaces illustrates our social and political urgencies. Writing about design is a really valuable experience for me because it contextualizes where we are and where we may go. At the end of the day, design is about finding solutions and it provides a unique (and less stressful) perspective on current affairs.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve written? Why?
I hesitate to identify as a sneakerhead, but Nike sneakers are certainly favored by my disposable income. Nike makes innovation appear so seamless, from how it brands itself to how we buy Jordans. When the opportunity arose to get a first-look at its Fifth Avenue flagship last year, I felt as though I was getting a glimpse behind the curtain. It was magical to experience a space that lived and breathed. I cannot recall many other spaces that felt alive to me. Not only does the Nike House of Innovation 000 outshine every other retail space on Fifth Avenue, but in my opinion, it sets a precedent for what elevated shopping looks like.
Are there any changes you’ve noticed in the architecture/interior design sectors?
The emphasis on sustainability has unsurprisingly become far more urgent, but it has also illuminated many other areas of need (access to clean drinking water, increased accessibility for the physically disabled, etc.) that thoughtful design can support. Something as simple as the use of locally sourced or sustainable materials not only protects the planet, but also heightens our own appreciation of these spaces. I have to say, designers convey a lot of optimism and their ability to perceive the physicals dimensions of a better world quells my cynicism.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I am pretty open about what kinds of media I consume, but most people probably don’t know that I have a soft spot for trashy reality TV. My latest indulgence has been Naked & Afraid and I think this may be the summer I dive into Love Island. We are all entitled to a healthy dose of escapism.