>Let’s Talk Interviews

No new comments yet, as expected, so let me tell you about my interviews this week. Both were like herding cats. The first sweet lady couldn’t stay on track for more than 5 seconds at a time and kept writing quotes for me to use on a piece of binder paper while I was trying to ask her questions. She was very nice, but I looked at my notes and thought, how the heck am I going to get a story out of this? Let’s just say that for once I didn’t go over my word limit.
This morning’s interview was supposed to be a whole bunch of people who all work at the same place. Come at 8:30, before it gets busy, I was told. I dragged myself out of bed at 6, only to find just one person available to talk to and she was even sleepier than I was. Her answers ranged from incoherent to personal comments she made me promise not to write down. As people came in, they went straight to work, and I had to chase them around the building, juggling camera and notebook, trying to get just a few facts. I’m counting on the photos to carry that one.
Lately I have been interviewing people who work at various local businesses. Of the last four, three said they went to work there because they needed a job. No passion, no history in the field, just somebody who would hire them.
Thank God for the DJ who started his own garage radio station at age 12 on a walkie-talkie. There’s a man with a mission. He’s on the air from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., so I had to get up early for him, too, but it was worth it. At 8 a.m., he was fully charged and highly quotable. The story just about wrote itself.
If you have interview experiences you’d like to share, I’m listening.
7:00 PM

2 Comments on “>Let’s Talk Interviews”

  1. Jamie says:

    >I interviewed a local caricature artist for two hours earlier this month. At the end, she said she couldn’t remember when she had talked so long about herself. The article ran as a feature, around 1,500 words, and included two of her drawings. When I saw her at the Chamber of Commerce meeting later that month, she gave me a big hug and thank you. She said she was amazed at how long the article was, especially since she didn’t think I took that many notes. That surprised me because I was thinking she must think I’m really rude because I’m taking notes instead of looking at her when she talked. What a difference in perceptions between interviewee and interviewer. And yes, I now have a digital recorder so I don’t have to get writer’s cramp – and that article paid for the recorder :)Jamie

  2. Suelick says:

    >Jamie,I know that feeling of worrying about taking notes instead of looking at them. People vary. Some barely notice, but others will be aware of everything you write down and even try to tell you what to write and what to leave out. That’s where a tape recorder is helpful. But always take some notes because you never know when the recorder will malfunction or background noise will drown out the most important comment. Congratulations on the successful interview and article.

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