Friday, March 16, 2007

MAKING THE STORY: How to Make an Interview Thirty Times More Difficult than Necessary in One Easy Step

-Rebecca Jacobson (Arts Desk)-

Step 1:
Forget the microphone.

That’s all you have to do to make an interview thirty times more difficult than it normally should be.

I was certain that it was in the kit when I left the station. I’d even opened the bag and rummaged. Maybe I assumed that the black lump at the bottom of the bag was the microphone, when it was really a little mic stand. I was so delighted to get to interview this woman (just in time before her scheduled C-section) that I took the bag and made the hour and a half trek to Annandale to interview her and her kids. I got into the house at about 4:30; the kids were excited and they were ready to go. They sat down, ready for their interview; the girls had put on their best behavior manners. It is hard for an enthusiastic four-year-old and a two-year-old to keep calm in front of an audience.

I pulled the flash recorder and the headphones out of the bag, plugged the card into its slot…. Wait a minute, the bag is empty now… what am I missing?

THE MICROPHONE! (Insert stream of profanities running through my mind here. I did take care not to say them out loud in front of the kids.) Of all the things I could have left behind, I had left the microphone. This must be a joke; somewhere the overseeing eyes of Journalism Candid Camera were getting a good laugh.

I apologized to my interviewee and explained I’d be right back with a microphone.

Did I mention this was 4:30 on a Friday afternoon? I spent the next two and a half hours in the car between NPR and Annandale just to retrieve a new kit and do the interview. So just remember before you head out: open up the WHOLE kit, take everything out, triple check its existence (have a passerby assure you that, yes, you are in fact seeing a microphone, a recorder, headphones, etc.) and then duct tape it to your person so you do not leave it behind.

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