XCVII. A Page Turned Over -

Turn the page over in any publication of your choice and you see something new.
Perhaps there is no change, but if something old was presented, (as in something mentioned already within the same text and not old as in a historical anecdote), then there is the redundancy flaw.

Change is an odd entity.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?
Well, so have I and I think it to be annoyingly contradictory. I feel like the integrity of logic was passed up for a need to retain colloquial wittiness.

The fact that something which is presumably not broken can still be fixed attests to the fact that it is indeed broken. Maybe broken is too severe an adjective, so let’s say that this something is defective and needs a little therapy.

I know I am just starting out on the lower rungs of the journalism ladder.

However, I still think I am competent enough to improve on a standard, for my own self.

Let’s break out from ambiguity, shall we?

During my college career I had to conduct a pretty large number of interviews. In fact, I always have felt like meeting someone with the intention of extracting a narrative that can be relayed in an article, or essay I write later on, in other words,  meeting someone professionally, has always been a comfort zone for me.

The interviewing process does not require long-term socializing commitments. The level of professionalism makes it a given that there will be no alcohol consumption.

I found my niche in this setting; the place where I can be that introverted socialite (as mentioned in a previous post).

This comfort zone is not without a natural nervous energy though.

Before every interview, whether I am the interviewer or the interviewee for an internship or the such, I purposely  zone out, have a panoramic of view of my surroundings, and then center myself so that all my peripheries are gone.
It’s just me and this interview now, but I know that this won’t make or break me. Remember, I took a panoramic snapshot to assure myself of the outside world I’ll be immersed into once again when this interview is over.

When I’m the interviewer, I am in control. I think all interviewers feel this way. That is not to say that as an interviewer I am the superior and my interviewee is subordinate. In reality, that is far from the truth. I have interviewed admirable doctorate-holding professors, scientists, and I have recently interviewed someone who discovered an algorithm.

They aren’t superior though.

We’re both standing on equal grounds; both of our names will be published on the same paper or web interface. We’re Just 2 humans trying to understand each other and help project our experiences to a larger public.

So why do certain journalists feel the need to go into an interview with an agenda? Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of interviewing?

I am all for being aggressive and not solely acting as a fly on the wall. I am not for phrasing questions such that they come off as offensive.

For example, why mention a country that they are from, that is also constantly scrutinized by the world, for no purpose other than to stir up an emotion?

Don’t you think it would be better to say, “I understand that you grew up abroad.Have you observed any stark differences in the academic arena here versus there?”

The interviewee is not stupid. He or she will understand the question just fine, will relay what country he or she relates to, and will not feel like he or she is being manipulated.

I know I’m just starting out, but if we’re both human, and we’re both trying to exchange words and knowledge and information that can be shared with a larger audience, wouldn’t it be better to converse with the person?

Wouldn’t it be better to not force a single reaction due to inflammatory diction in a question and rather see multiple reactions unfold during the interview?

The above approach, of asking questions at face value while keeping in mind the interviewee’s background, was the one I started to use via trial and error.

The trial and error yielded a concrete result.

As an individual, I can better communicate with someone by asking thought-provoking questions that are free of any type of suggestive content.
I have only been using what I was taught by various pedagogues: Don’t be wordy. Be concise and be clear. When you don’t place someone on a pedestal or alternatively, when you don’t shine a interrogative-room-like spotlight on him/her, we can both fundamentally connect as humans.
As a result, I would have lengthy interviews or more so, conversations, that would go upwards of 20 minutes.

Since I’m just starting out, however, I have to follow a completely opposite approach. Those were the orders, and I, the beginner, had to follow them. So much for being aggressive.

As I asked my interviewee the first question I was told to ask a couple of days ago by my pedagogical superior, if you will, the interviewee was immediately perturbed and after the 2nd question I quickly reverted to my own style of interviewing.

This was my shortest interview ever, coming in at around 6 minutes and yet, I believe this to be one of the best profiles I think I have ever written.

Despite the fact that I loved the way my article turned out, and hopefully my editor will too, my frustration at the orders  that I received for carrying out the interview were heightened.

It seems that some journalists forget the need for transparency and the need to communicate a story as is, just to stir up some sort of fervor.

Why can’t we rely on our writing to stir up fervor?

It seems to me that I have witnessed firsthand the infamous dark side of media and journalism.

Still, I am so excited to embark on more journalistic opportunities if given the chance. Interviewing is addictive. I get to be that introverted socialite - that person who can never be alone and yet needs her alone time.

Even the transcription process, though tedious, is so completely phenomenal; the amount of substance one could extract from a person you’ve never met before really enables you to identify with your fellow human on a raw and fundamental level. There are no strings attached.

Last but not least, the article-writing phase, aka my alone time: I think it goes without saying how gratifying the writing process is.

Here’s to keep on keeping on -