Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Posts Tagged ‘listen

Falling In Love Again

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As a journalist, when you talk to someone you end up liking, either because of their work or their personality, it can be painful to hear later that they have gotten involved in some kind of personal or organizational scandal.  At that point, you have a choice – you can either try to talk with them again to find out what happened and give them a forum to tell their side of the story, or you can not talk to them because you don’t want to seem like you’re piling on.  A journalist will tend to do the first even though to the subject, it can feel like the second which is why they may not choose to talk to you.  Then, the journalist might feel like, “I like you, but are you hiding something?” which can lead to, “Were you honest with me when we first talked?” which tends to turn on the nose.

This is how skepticism forms and the reason why so many journalists have so much of it.  So each time a journalist interviews someone new, there is this push and pull.  Distance from a subject is a professional necessity of the job.  And although we may not like someone personally, we may admire what they do professionally.  Or we may not like the work they do but think they are peachy-keen.  Of course, we try to keep these feelings to ourselves.  But if we like what they do or who they are and they end up in or near bad stuff, it can be hard to not feel a little disappointed or betrayed.

Each new face, new story, new personality sings to us because we tell stories by listening to stories.  To tell it well, we have to know it well and that can draw us in.  Every time we turn on the mic, we can fall in love again.

Damn it!

Written by Interviewer

January 25, 2015 at 02:09

Late Night Quickie

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I just got a new piece of software that will let me create transcripts of my interviews.  It’s amazing technology.  I just drag the audio file into a box and it listens to the audio and creates a written version.  I listen and make spot corrections, of course.  But it’ll transcribe my longest, hour long interviews and all I have to do is go to the start of the finished transcript, put on the headphones, click the audio file and touch up as I go.  I’ve transcribed hundreds of hours of interviews by hand over the years and it can be misery.  I created a rule of thumb that said each minute of audio took three minutes to carefully listen to and accurately transcribe.  So an hour of audio could easily take three hours to transcribe.  Now, for this same hour-long interview, I expect it will only take an extra 30 minutes, not 180.  This is exquisite.

Soon, I expect to have readable transcripts for all of my interviews.  I’ll put the transcribe icon right next to the microphone (get interviewed) icon and beside the preview and interview boxes beneath each completed interview on my Conversus website –  And it’ll be great because the Internet looks for tags and keywords.  So, all of the references in the written versions will make them that much easier to find online.  It’ll be one stop shopping.

Written by Interviewer

April 11, 2013 at 14:21