Digital Journalism and the Interview

Journalism is ideally accomplished in the digital realm. Although the concise nature of the writing hasn’t changed, there’s so much more to offer those readers captured by a particular news story. The use of hyperlinks and photographic slideshows extend the potential for breadth in a story. Benefits of digital journalism still offer options to those readers who simply skim the headlines, but for those who wish to continue their journey, they need only click hyperlinks or sidebars that link readers to additional related options or earlier developments of a story.

There are also a multitude of social media methods to direct readers to your news feed, like facebook and Twitter. Tweeting and facebook status updates can ignite the act of spreadable media, creating opportunities for a viral event.

Although I’d be flattered to have something I’ve authored go viral, my biggest source of pride in my craft is the interview. Each time a person agrees to be interviewed, they are extending an offer of trust—trust that I will guide them past any fears of being interviewed and that I will ultimately make them shine in the resulting feature. And I work hard to earn that trust.

My interviews tend to seem more like a chat with an old friend. Put at ease, people will respond with enthusiasm to a good listener, and without realizing it, they’ll have contributed some useful quotes and content to formulate an excellent feature. A good listener—or rather interviewer—also waits patiently and looks for queues to direct the conversation without interrupting the organic nature of it. Sometimes I get caught up in the ease of the conversation and want to share my own story. It can work well when you’re trying to generate dialogue from a reluctant interviewee, but it can also cut short a perfectly elegant quote.

Writer and photograherAnother beneficial aspect of digital journalism is the ability to create online photographic slideshows. As a photographer, telling a story through photo journalism is a treat. It’s also a lot of work. When I’m angling the ideal shot, I’m no longer fully engaged as a listener. Acting as both writer and photographer covering an event is a struggle for me. I’m learning to get a few quick, quality shots and then put the camera down and concentrate again as a writer.

My interviewing skills improved with practice and so will my balance between photographer and writer. Are you free for a chat next week?

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~ by lookATLANTA on December 5, 2011.

One Response to “Digital Journalism and the Interview”

  1. I’m also a journalist — freelance for newspapers and magazines. I take my own photos, too. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Balancing a camera and notebook, listening and shooting at the same time. But I love what I do.

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