I mentioned in my last post that I’d signed up to do some journalism training. Four weeks in, and I’ve learnt a lot.
First up, this is hard work and requires some concentrated effort. I’ve done three interviews and all required some serious background information trawling, even before I could start planning the interview structure, questions and what the potential story output might look like. Fortunately, the interviews were not on time sensitive issues i.e. fast moving news events, otherwise I would be heading for a journalistic sacking.
Secondly, you need to have a story look, feel and shape in mind, before you start on the questions. Obvious, really, but not always as easy as it sounds, especially when you have interviewees that have their own agenda, or go off at a tangent.
Thirdly, my speed handwriting is bad. Very bad. Which is not good when you are trying to write up an article and you want to include a quote. “… and then the goat laughed”. What goat? Who laughed? Really??
Fourthly, you can’t blag this. You need to be well informed on the subject matter, be quick witted enough to follow up any new avenues for questioning as they present themselves and try and keep to any pre-arranged time schedule.
Finally, when you’ve done all this and written up the story, you need to try and cross check anything you’ve been told, to verify the facts and that doesn’t mean a quick flick through Wikipedia.
All in all, it’s been a good experience and hopefully, one I’ll get to repeat.