Beginning three weeks ago on October 29th, our semester at UMFS reached its climax with the students preparing to interview several residents of Guardian Place. Overall I was astounded at not only the level of professionalism but most importantly by the willingness of the students to try to engage the subjects in a well-constructed interview process.
The interviewing process was always the aspect of Journalism that I had most of my issues with. There is an anxiety that accompanies tracking down people and asking them occasionally personal questions. I remember having to learn to get over it and do what I needed to do to get my story, and I believe I saw this gradual willingness manifest itself in many of the students at UMFS. I firmly believe that prior to interviewing at Guardian Place this semester we prepared them enough so that eventually they would all be comfortable to at least try and ask a few questions to one or more of the interviewees.
This was, again, a gradual process as I am sure it is for many beginning journalists. The first week there was some definite about getting up and trying. This takes many people out of their comfort zone. Once some of the students who were more nervous saw the students who weren’t going for it many of them warmed up to the idea and each performed beautifully. I am definitely excited to see the edited footage.
I think overall I have grown the most in my own interaction with people. I always had a problem starting the interview with attempting to “warm up” the subject so to speak, and I always grew impatient and would begin asking the difficult questions too early. I saw an opposing dilemma with the “candy bar question” situation. That is, when responses are getting heavy and emotional, one almost reverts back awkwardly by asking something such as “what is your favorite candy bar” when the subject just finished recounting a painful portion of his or her past. I realize that writing down questions is important and mapping out your strategy for getting as much and the right kind of knowledge from your subject that would most impact your story, but as responses surprise you, questions may change. I will try not to focus so much on the question but on the responses I need from now on.