Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reporting Class Practices Interviewing a Cooperative Passerby

Good job, class. You did ask Pat how much he made and by throwing out a high but still plausible figure -- I believe you suggested 100K -- he did answer the question. But since Patrick was doing this as an act of friendship, I cut his answer from the video.

If this had been a real interview, I certainly would have included his answer. Already we see a problem you will face as a student journalist. Your sources may think you are playing at being a journalist and that you won't use what they tell you. You need to make clear upfront that our assignments are not just class exercises and could find their way into print or online.

But even if you do that, since you are seen as a peer or even a friend, your sources may come to you after an interview and ask that some comment not be used. And when that happens, you will have an ethical problem, and we will have a nice class discussion.

By the way, it took me about 50 minutes to edit this little slice of life into rough shape. To get something more than blogworthy would have taken more interviewing time and more editing time -- and before I began I would have been better off consulting with someone who knows how to do this kind of thing right.

But even rough product is better than no product at all.

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