September 2, 2008 at 2:57 am 2 comments

I have a stack of books in front of me that need reading before tomorrow.  Most of them are on Interviewing techniques.

I really do enjoy my assigned readings, when I do them.  I truly do.  What’s wonderful about the program is that I’m able to have conversations with like-minded people who know the same material I do (probably more – I’ve missed a few chapters here and there), and listen to their take.  It’s nice.  Rarely do I ever get a chance to talk shop about politics and news.  And talking shop about English simply never happened.  Ever.  Nobody cares what you think about this novel or that poem, and most conversation centers on class or assignments.  Which is cathartic, certainly, but is subject to the law of diminishing returns when you find that you’re not so much benefiting from it as you are simply avoiding the inevitable.

ANYWAY, I like my readings.  But some of them are starting to get a little redundant.  Apparently the ouevre of Canadian Journalism Studies isn’t exactly spilling out of its stitches.  But here’s what I’ve gleaned so far, for those interested.  If you’ve ever done an interview of any kind, a lot of this will seem like common sense:

  1. Be on time :  Well, yeah.  The interviewee is doing you a favor by being there.  Don’t cock it up with something small like being late.
  2. Tape recorders can be a burden :  This one threw me, because I loved my tape recorder.  But if you think about, it’s true: getting down every single word electronically leads to a massive headache when it comes to actually writing the thing because there is so much information to sift through.  Better sometimes to grab the good quotes, take pointed notes, and listen.  Which brings me too…
  3. Listen deeply : You have no idea how irritating it is to feel like you need to stick to your list of questions, but guess what?  No matter how hard you try you will stick to that list, and it’ll be the death of you.  Stop doing it.  The tendency is to, instead of listening to the answer, start searching for the next question to ask.  This stems from every person involved in The Interview absolutely hating the idea of silence.  Let it go.  (And another surprising thing?  If you listen properly, you’ll be exhausted by the end of the session.  It’s tiring.)
  4. Do your research : Yeah, it’s boring and time-consuming.  But it really does help.  I need to start doing that.  Like, right now.
  5. Open-ended questions are King : Questions that start with How, Why, or What generally lead to better, longer answers.  Asking a yes-or-no question is only good for getting simple facts correct, and will kill an interview.  They do help as palate cleansers in long chunks of conversation, though.

Wasn’t that interesting, kids?  A lot of it is truly fun, so I won’t be sarcastic.  And I feel like I’m learning a tonne.  Don’t you remember that feeling you got from Brock, that wonderful sensation of knowledge simply being POURED into your ear, and you left the classroom feeling like a superhero, ready to take on the world?  Me neither.  But this place is kind of like that.

To any Press people reading this: Do you recall how painful it was sometimes to find a Reader of the Week?  Anyone you approached might giggle and say no, or walk away, or try to stab you with a sharpened pencil.  Imagine doing that on the street to random people 20 times in a day.  That’s been the basis of two of my assignments so far.  And I had to convince people to let me FILM them (which only proves my point that it’s much easier to film people with a little help from Mr. Chloroform….much, much easier.)

Just 6 weeks left until I’m back for Thanksgiving.  I’m not homesick, exactly, but there are a few people that I miss dearly and I’d like to see them with my own eyes rather than through a webcam conversation.  Yet, Skype is a very cool toy for the time being.

**Another small, but exciting point:  We have an online research course here that basically shows you how to find a bunch of really nifty information, all public record, that you’d never think you’d have access too.  You can find out the property value of your house, how much a certain political figure spent on a business dinner last Thursday, and a transcript from some no-name marijuana possession court case that happened ten years ago in Truro (city outside of Halifax).  It’s pretty cool.**

ALSO, did you know that Google has set up it’s own toll-free business search phone number?  It’s kind of like 411, but it’s 1-800-GOOG411.  Try it out…

But that in itself is not the cool part.  The COOL part is why they set it up in the first place.  As more and more people use the service, Google is starting to amass a database of millions of voice clips in the attempt to create a logorithm that will SEARCH AUDIO AND VIDEO FILES ON THE INTERNET.  Simply put, a clip from a radio-show could be searchable (as of this moment, you might only find it if someone had titled or tagged it effectively).  A video you post on Facebook might be searchable, depending on the words that were said in the video.  Video/Audio clips of speeches, etc.  It’s a whole new world.

*****Last Point, I swear:  That news aggregator thing will be starting soon.  Probably on Tuesdays.  Newsdays, I’m thinking will be the title.

That title took me all afternoon.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. travis  |  September 2, 2008 at 4:12 am

    I have it on good word that there isn’t much else to do in Truro other than drugs.

  • 2. cait  |  September 2, 2008 at 6:47 am

    ps: come home.


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About Upper Lip

It's mostly a collection of sweet links and copious amounts of talk talk talk. I like it more and more every day. And yes, even the ugly blue/green color scheme is not without a certain charm.

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