The research process
- It was difficult to maintain effective communication with my interviewee, because we were both busy, and we had to figure out a mutually convenient time for both of us to meet. We used texting and online communication, including email, to decide on a time to meet and to interview each other. Using these forms of communication omits a lot of nuance or expression that may be gleaned from a face-to-face meeting, and I’m glad that we chose the latter method to conduct our interviews.
Most of my follow up questions for Sarah related to how her music has impacted her life as a whole. I got some powerful quotes from her this way, and it made for a stronger and more inspirational story.
- Sarah suggested that I use email to get in touch with her mother, which I did, and she gave me a great quote to summarize Sarah’s goals and how her music has positively impacted her life, and how it will affect her future
- My technique in interviewing was mostly to sit back and listen and let my interviewee do the talking. I allowed for pauses, because sometimes she added more information without my prodding. In contrast, my interviewer liked to question me more, and tried to get more details for her story, and so I had to think in a more critical manner to present my information from a good angle.
- Most of the challengesI flagged emerged from style questions, not grammar ones. For example, I wasn’t sure if passive voice was permissible to use in a quote. To answer these questions, I looked up the answers in the AP stylebook and in Carole Rich’s textbook.I used Poynter’s WrTl 10, fine-tuning, by recording all of my information from the interview in my notes. Before I began my article, I read through all of the data, and picked the relevant points that I wanted to discuss. After I wrote the article, I re-read it several times and omitted needless words, and switched around some information to help it flow better.
- I used WrTl 10, which encourages varying sentence length. When I gave basic facts, such as Sarah’s family’s musicality and other factual data, I used short sentences. When I described the music’s impact on her life as a whole, I used longer sentences that were more free-flowing and explained more.I used WrTl 21, which advocates understating more serious parts to a story. In the beginning, when I discussed the tragedies that Sarah endured, I used shorter sentences and simpler language.
- To improve my article, I used WrTl 3, which encourages activating verbs. I wrote some sentences in the passive voice, and then went back and refined them and wrote them in the active voice. I also considered NewsU’s lead lab when writing my lead, and used my understanding of all the different lead types to write the best lead I could. Rich also recommends using partial quotes in certain cases, because they clear up confusion and help the story flow better. I did this with the quote from Sarah’s mother, and this was my favorite tip because I wasn’t sure if I could dissect a quote, but I’m glad to learn that I can. Also, for style purposes, I referred to past TA “slice of life” submissions to conform to style guidelines.