Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

I Love Interviewing People

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Every now and then, a thought or a feeling just erupts through the averageness of an ordinary day.  I’m sure it’s happened to you.  Something comes to you, like a little epiphany that nobody else would probably be interested in, but it makes you smile a real smile to yourself.

Here’s mine. 

I love interviewing people.  I love coming into contact w/people I would never normally meet.  I love trying to understand them, first by coming up with questions that might be one they’ve never heard before … ones that actually catch them by surprise so that the auto-answerer gets kicked off the rails.

Then, I love trying to understand them through their answers.  I love the pauses as they process the question, and decide how honest and sincere they will be.  Even if they give a safe, pat answer, it’s the pause that tells me, “uh huh.”  Not a “gotcha” type question, per se, but a consideration of the invitation by them to truly engage.  That’s what I’m looking for.  I’m just asking them to consider engaging.

I love the production process.  I love struggling over the right length of a breath, of a beat, of a silence.  I love turning an hour or “ummm” and “ahhhhs” unto 30 minutes of flowing dialogue.  Likewise, I sometimes listen to people wax so poetically about their passion that I can forget I’m supposed to be leading the thing.  Those flawless interviews practically edit themselves, as in, not at all. 

And connected to that, I love creating the thirty-second commercials about each interview.  Finding the music (Kevin McLeod of Incompetech), editing a good comment down and tying it up in a nice bow before posting it.  I like it.  So instead of a potential listener having to listen to an hour long conversation, like force feeding them a roasted pig, they can instead scarf down a teaspoon of barbeque pulled pork on a cracker.

And finally, I love sharing them.  I love it when people contact me and say, “Thanks”.  You know, sometimes, that’s all people have time for.  But the recognition that they got something they weren’t expecting and they liked it, that is satisfying.     


Written by Interviewer

February 16, 2013 at 04:30

Posted in Scratchpad

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