Interviewing to find stories

Your assignment for Thursday is to finish and post at least one “grabber” sound bite out of the five recorded interviews you performed as initial research into a possible idea for a story of interest to the campus community. Talk to ordinary people (not officials) whom you don’t normally talk to — no friends, relatives or people you live with. Be sure to get their full name, correctly spelled, and other identifying information like age, major, year in school and hometown.

Record the interview with a digital recorder, cell phone or laptop. Choose a quiet location. Put the recording device near the interviewer and don’t interrupt as he or she speaks. Craft questions that are designed to elicit emotional storytelling, not just simple factual answers. These guides to interviewing may be helpful to review before you start:

We’ll play a few of the interviews in class after you post them to this site.

Remember that this is a preliminary inquiry only. We’re doing this to see how stories might develop and to critique our interviewing styles. After we’ve done these five interviews, we’ll decide how to proceed toward completing an actual story as part of our discussions next week. Right now, we’re looking for at least one interview that indicates the story is worth pursuing.

The topic you choose can be what you discussed in class last Thursday, this Tuesday or something else. Don’t get too focused too early. Just inquire about what’s going on in a particular area or general topic without having a specific idea for a story until after you glean the information you get from your interviews.


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