Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Archive for September 2014

New Track: Julie Wu Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Julie Wu Interview”:

Julie Wu’s parents emmigrated from Taiwan around the time of the 1949 Chinese revolution. In her latest novel, called “The Third Son”, Ms. Wu talks about how her book coincided with the birth of her first child and a determination to truly hear her father’s story for the first time

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September 4, 2014 at 13:26

Posted in Scratchpad

New Track: Ben Chavis Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Ben Chavis Interview”:

Dr. Benjamin Chavis is a civil rights pioneer. He led the NAACP in the early 90s and he was the director of the Million Man March. He is involved in a number of self empowerment initiatives including a collaboration with media mogul Russell Simmons to use hip hop as a way for youth to transmit experiential messages to the larger community. Mr. Chavis was recently elevated to the position of president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Don Merrill sat down with Mr. Chavis to talk about his newest job to once again help energize and educate not just black communities but all communities.

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September 4, 2014 at 13:26

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New Track: Jeff Kropf Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Jeff Kropf Interview”:

Jeff Kropf is a conservative who served in the Oregon legislature between 1999 and 2007. While there, he helped pass the Charter Schools Act, a piece of legislation based on language from the free market, limited government advocating American Legislative Exchange Council. But Mr. Kropf, who is now a co-founder of Oregon Connections Academy, an online charter school says many former democrats in the legislature helped pass that law. And he says Governor Kitzhaber’s administration is experimenting with blended schooling that combines forms of public education and charter schooling. Don Merrill talks with Mr. Kropf about the positives and negatives of alternative education for Oregon’s kids.

Written by Interviewer

September 4, 2014 at 13:26

Posted in Scratchpad

New Track: Brooks Fayh And Rick Swart Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Brooks Fayh And Rick Swart Interview”:

Brooks Fahy is the Executive Director of Predator Defense, an animal advocacy organization based in Eugene, OR. Rick Swart is the spokesperson for the Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife. KBOO’s Don Merrill talked with both of these experts about the recent euthanizing of a cougar in a Portland community, what they both think about why it happened and what needs to be done to keep it from happening in the future.

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September 4, 2014 at 11:19

Posted in Scratchpad

New Track: Bob Horenstein And Ned Rosch Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Bob Horenstein And Ned Rosch Interview”:

Bob Horenstein is the spokesperson for the Jewish Federation of Portland, a strong supporter of the Israeli government. Ned Rosch is the co-founder of Jewish Voice for Peace, and advocacy organization for Palestinian concerns in the West Bank and Gaza. Don Merrill talked with these men, both of whom are on opposite sides of the current turmoil in the Middle East. And each is unwavering in their conviction that the views of the other need to change.

Written by Interviewer

September 4, 2014 at 04:53

Posted in Scratchpad

New Track: Emilio Castillo Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Emilio Castillo Interview”:

Emilio Castillo is the founder and leader of the 70s urban soul group, Tower of Power. He talked with Don Merrill about how he and his band have gotten their touring down to a science, why software like GarageBand is good for music and how God saved him from some poor youthful decisions that helped make possible a successful 50-year career.

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September 4, 2014 at 02:44

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New Track: Todd Matthews Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Todd Matthews Interview”:

The Doe Network is a volunteer organization that tries to identify John and Jane Does. Based in Tennessee, it has helped local, state and federal agencies solve crimes that involve the missing and the unidentified since the early 2000s. Don Merrill talked with spokesperson Todd Matthews about the Doe Network and how it tries to help families get resolution, even though Mr. Matthews admits that resolution isn’t the same as justice.

Written by Interviewer

September 4, 2014 at 02:44

Posted in Scratchpad

New Track: Beatriz Williams Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “Beatriz Williams Interview”:

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams likes telling stories about rich people making mistakes as a way to show that money doesn’t necessarily buy intellingence or couth. Don Merrill talks with Ms. Williams about her love of writing and the contrast between women of pre-World War Two New England and today in the context of her latest book, The Secret Life of Violet Grant.

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September 4, 2014 at 02:44

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New Track: James Leuenberger Interview

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A new track on SoundCloud “James Leuenberger Interview”:

James Leuenberger is a third-party candidate for the Constitution party. He is running for the Oregon Senate. He talked with Don Merrill about his views on gun ownership, Oregon’s Equal Rights ballot initiative and why he thinks running for office might be the only way to educate people about the state and federal constitutions.

Written by Interviewer

September 4, 2014 at 02:44

Posted in Scratchpad

Crickets

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Crickets

This is a quickie.

Sometimes, an interviewer will introduce a guest or a number of guests with the expectation that after he finishes the introduction, the guests will acknowledge the introduction by saying something like how glad they are to be there or how grateful they are to have to opportunity to talk.  It’s the official go ahead to the host that the interview can commence.

But sometimes that doesn’t happen.  Sometimes there is dead silence from everybody.  Then, the host is stuck in that wierd little moment between waiting for the guest(s) to acknowledge the introduction and deciding to plow forward without it.

That happened today with Dave Miller, the host of the Oregon Public Broadcasting noontime radio news program “Think Outloud”.  Following a long and flowing introduction of three people who were on the program to speak of their history with former Oregon Republican Governor Vic Atiyeh who had just been honored in a memorial service, none of them said anything.  After a couple seconds, he moved on but you could tell he was caught a little off guard.  After all, you might expect one person out of three to not say anything.  But three out of three?

As an interviewer, you always wonder when that happens why that happens.  It’s sort of a social convention – equivalent to saying thank you when someone holds open a door.  When the convention gets broken, it can be a surprise.  And the dynamics can be a little hard to understand.  Maybe the longer any guest doesn’t hear any other guest speak first, the longer none of them choose to speak first.  Maybe they consider the nicety superflurous and so they don’t participate in it.  Maybe they didn’t hear the introduction or weren’t paying attention to it.  Or maybe they just want to punk the host.  All have happened to me.  Who knows?

But interviewers, journalist, reporters; anyone who publicly  engages the public knows that expecting people to behave a certain way is risky.  You want to give them their respect and make room for cordiality.  When it doesn’t come though, you can’t blink.  You just think to yourself, “Well, it is what it is” and just keep going.

Written by Interviewer

September 4, 2014 at 02:33