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Interviewing the Interviewer

When it comes to journalism, an interview can make or break your story. There are multiple uses with journalism, so knowing how to conduct an efficient interview is crucial. For today’s presentation, I will share with you what journalism is, advice from my two interviewees and show two short clips of what they do.


What is journalism? The definition of journalism is gathering, processing and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience. There are multiple uses of journalism; print: content published via newspaper and magazine, broadcast: television and radio and digital media: news websites and applications. *The history of journalism began in 1605 when the Relation aller Furnemmen und gedenchwurdigen Historien was published. It is recognized as the first newspaper. English publisher, Benjamin Harris moved to New England as an early journalist after he was fined when he was convicted of sedition. While in Boston, Harris started a coffee house which allowed access to newspapers. He published The New-England Primer and because he did not have a license, he was jailed and he did not publish another newspaper til years later. He received the official assignment to print The Acts and Laws of Massachusetts in 1692.

After the development of the party system of government, newspapers began to become an important stance in political affairs. Newspapers became widely popular and publishers began to print on a daily basis. The first work of modern journalism was called The Storm and was published in 1704 and in 1788 The Daily Universal Register became known as The Times.

My first interview for this project was with retired columnist and author Joseph L. Galloway. Mr. Galloway is best known for his work writing the book; We Were Soldiers Once… And Young. He became a reporter for a Texas daily newspaper by the age of seventeen. At nineteen, he was a bureau chief for United Press International and after his bravery to report on the ground of the Ia Drang Valley during Vietnam, he received a Bronze Star Medal.

During my interview with Mr. Galloway, the one thing that stood out to me was when he advised me that no matter what, you have a prepare yourself. You have to be ready in any situation you are in while reporting. Seeing as how, this man was in Vietnam to report the war to the American people and he ended up with a gun in his hands, loading American soldier’s bodies into helicopters. The other advice he gave me, was that when it came to nerves while conducting an interview, that there are no nerves to overcome. “You are doing your job in facing your interviewee and you go in prepared so you have nothing to worry about. Establish ground rules FIRST: what is on the record (everything, we hope), what is on background (2nd best) and what is off the record (worst outcome). You are responsible for living up to your agreement and your word. Record everything, transcribe right after the interview.” *With that being said, here is a short clip of an interview with Joseph L. Galloway.

My second interview for this project was with KOTV reporter and Associated Press Award winner Tony Russell. Mr. Russell received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and graduated at University of Mississippi in 2010. He worked as a reporter at KHBS/KHOG-TV in Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is also an amateur radio operator and since sixth grade, he has credited his passion for journalism, especially broadcasting, on that.

I received a lot of feedback, information and advice from my interview with Mr. Russell. I asked him about how to prepare for an interview and what he does when it came to nerves. His advice was to always remember that the interviewee is just as nervous as the interviewer and when it comes to being anxious, that they wake up every morning just the same as us. He reminded me that in order to conduct a proper interview, you have to be a people person and get out of your comfort zone. One of the things I never thought of when it came to being the interviewer is that it takes a lot of trust from the interviewee. To sit down and share information with a stranger and put their name in your hands, takes trust.

One thing I can say for certain is that I leaned so much from interviewing these two gentlemen. I hope to take their advice, feedback and information and instill those into my own experiences as a writer.

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