Posts tagged interviews

Listening is an Act of Love

Something to watch this Thanksgiving weekend: Storycorps’ first ever animated special:

Listening Is an Act of Love features six stories from 10 years of the innovative oral history project. Each story reflects StoryCorps founder Dave Isay’s fundamental belief: “We can learn so much about the people all around us — even about the people we already know — just by taking the time to have a conversation.” Framing these intimate conversations from across the country is an interview between Isay and his 9-year-old nephew, Benji. 

Watch the trailer above. Find your local listing here. Or stream it online for free for a month, starting tomorrow.

FJP: My all-time favorite animated interview from Storycorps is this one, in which 12-year-old Joshua Littman, who has Aspberger’s Syndrome, interviews his mom.—Jihii

When she was in preschool she was interested in how babies are made, and we had this book, Where Willy Went, about a little sperm in a race to try to get to the egg. So she already knew about the sperm meeting the egg, but she didn’t know how [the sperm] got there in the first place. She asked me [about it], and I said, “You really want to know?” And she said, “Yeah.” And I just blurted it all out. It took about seven minutes. I told her the whole thing. She was like wide-eyed and I said, “Was that what you were expecting?” She said no. I said, “Has anyone talked about this at school?” And she said no. So I said, “Well, was it a surprise?” She said no. And then she said, “I mean yes.” I said, “Well, that’s it.” And then I had to tell all of the other parents [at her school], “Hey, by the way, if you hear [your kids say] anything about the penis getting bigger and blah blah blah, uh, this is where it came from.”

Molly Ringwald, on explaining sex to her daughter, in an interview with Maude Apatow for Rookie Mag.

Maude is 15 and a writer for Hello Giggles. Molly is, well, now 45 and still everyone’s teenage crush. The interview is delightfully straightforward and refreshing and covers everything from being a teenager, to writing, acting, dealing with technology warping your brain, and being a mom. Stuff like this is why I adore Rookie Mag, a radically real, endlessly creative online site for teenage girls (created by a teenage girl).—Jihii

Related: Last week, Her Girl Friday invited Rookie’s Editorial Director, Anahaeed Alani to share the Rookie story and some wisdom at a panel on lady-powered start-ups. Here’s a video recap of the event, and here’s an interview with Anaheed by ReportHers.

Glenn Greenwald v The BBC: How Journalism Works Edition

The BBC’s Newsnight interviewed The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald about the Edward Snowden NSA leaks last week.

Many of the questions are strange. On a scale of did-she-really-ask-that to facepalm, most fall somewhere in the middle. Take, in a paraphrased instance, “How do you know that your reporting isn’t helping terrorists?”

Because, terrorism.

Greenwald’s been in this seat many times before (think: Meet the Press’ David Gregory asking him why he shouldn’t be arrested along with Snowden for the leaks) and goes through his laundry list of what journalism is, how it works and why just because the government says it’s true doesn’t necessarily make it true.

NYU’s Jay Rosen has a good rundown on the exchange. In particular, the journalist’s strawman tick of beginning questions with something along the lines of, “Some people say… .”

Via Rosen:

I’ve been talking about this interview on Twitter today because to me this is a weak form of journalism. It takes common criticisms made of the subject and simply thrusts them at him one after the other to see how he handles it. The basic format is: “People say this about you. What is your response?” Questions 1-7, 9 and 13 are all of that type.

Defenders of this style always say the same thing: Hey, that was a tough interview! People in the public eye should be made to answer their doubters. You may not like it, especially if you’re a fan of the person in question, but that’s our job as journalists: to be tough but fair.

No, your job as a journalist is to decide which of the common criticisms have merit, and ask about those, leaving the meritless to chatrooms. It is also to synthesize new criticisms, and ask about those. It is to advance the conversation, not just replay it. People say these bad things about you– what is your response? is outsourcing the work to other interested parties. It doesn’t make for a tough interview; it makes for a predictable one, easier for the subject to handle. It’s also the cheapest and simplest way to manufacture an “adversarial” atmosphere

Video runtime: ~14 worthwhile minutes.

Giles Duley Interview
ifilikeityoulikeit:

*Very interesting interview
“Giles Duley has been getting a lot of attention recently as the photographer who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine in Kabul while documenting American troops in Afghanistan. Giles has been reluctant to speak about himself and his accident, but it’s the work that he’s been compiling for ten years that I really wanted to talk to him about.”
Read more

FJP: Definitely read more.

Giles Duley Interview

ifilikeityoulikeit:

*Very interesting interview

Giles Duley has been getting a lot of attention recently as the photographer who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine in Kabul while documenting American troops in Afghanistan. Giles has been reluctant to speak about himself and his accident, but it’s the work that he’s been compiling for ten years that I really wanted to talk to him about.”

Read more

FJP: Definitely read more.

FJP Interviews and Yams
Peter’s currently at SXSW where he just interviewed the Knight Foundation’s Chris Sopher.

FJP Interviews and Yams

Peter’s currently at SXSW where he just interviewed the Knight Foundation’s Chris Sopher.

What We Talk About When We Talk about the N-Word

  • FJP: In Django, the N-Word, and How We Talk About Race in 2013, Grantland's Rembert Browne quotes a recent interview between film critic Jake Hamilton and Samuel L. Jackson. Rembert's article is here: http://goo.gl/x28ug
  • Hamilton: There's been a lot of controversy surrounding the usage of, uh, the N-word, in this movie.
  • Jackson: No? Nobody? None ... the word would be?
  • Hamilton: [Whispered.] I don't want to say it.
  • Jackson: Why not?
  • Hamilton: I don't like to say it.
  • Jackson: Have you ever said it?
  • Hamilton: No, sir.
  • Jackson: Try it.
  • Hamilton: I don't like to say it.
  • Jackson: [SAMUEL JACKSON SCREAM] TRY IT.
  • Hamilton: Really? Seriously?
  • Jackson: We're not going to have this conversation unless you say it.
  • [Pause.]
  • Jackson: Wanna move on to another question?
  • Hamilton: OK. Awesome.
  • Jackson: [Laughs.]
  • Hamilton: I don't like — I don't want to say it.
  • Jackson: Oh, come on.
  • Hamilton: Will you say it?
  • Jackson: No, fuck no. It's not the same thing.
  • Hamilton: Why do you want me to —
  • Jackson: They're gonna bleep it when you say it on the show. SAY IT.
  • Hamilton: I, I can't say it. If I say it, this question won't make air.
  • Jackson: OK, forget it.
  • Hamilton: I'll skip it. Sorry, guys. It was a good question.
  • Jackson: No it wasn't.
  • Hamilton: It was a great question.
  • Jackson: It wasn't a great question if you can't say the word.

Ten tips for recording audio interviews by phone | Advancing the Story

onaissues:

Advancing the Story has helpful advice about conducting phone interviews. Here are two things that are good to keep in mind:

  • Control your interview. It’s harder to keep someone on track when you’re talking by phone than in person since you can’t use body language or facial expressions to send signals. If he or she starts to ramble, you might have to say something like, “That’s good information, but what we’d really like to know is…” 
  •  Don’t talk over the interview. Unless you have to interrupt to redirect the interview, keep your mouth shut. You don’t want to lose a great sound bite because you’re saying, “Really? that’s interesting.”

Head over to Advancing the Story for more tips. 

Hunter S. Thompson on David Letterman

"Our next guest has been called the most accurate and least factual reporter working today… please welcome back Hunter Thompson.”

A few videos on what would have been Thompson’s 75th birthday:

Thompson killed himself in 2005.

30 Days, 30 Lost Interviews

Last week I met with David Gerlach, founder and creator of Blank on Blank, a nonprofit that salvages, archives and remixes audio recordings journalists submit from their past interviews.

Visit the site now and you’ll see and hear from Allen Ginsberg, Thom Yorke, Dave Brubeck and even Jonathan Alter on how to interview presidents.

Blank on Blank currently has a Kickstarter campaign up and running. Aside from the $10,000 they hope to raise, they’re also trying to “raise” 30 new interviews. Have a great one on your hard drive or in a shoe box? Visit Blank on Blank and tell them about it.

In the Q&A below, we discuss how Blank on Blank started, how it works with Public Radio Exchange to distribute these lost interviews and give them new life, and what it means to remix an old audio interview. — Michael

FJP: What is Blank on Blank? What’s its origin story?
David Gerlach: Blank on Blank’s mission is simple: turn print journalists’ lost interview tapes into new unheard multimedia. We are a nonprofit transforming journalists’ interviews gathered to write stories, into a new podcast, public radio series, and collection of animated shorts on YouTube. The future of journalism? Remixing the past.

FJP: Why is archiving, salvaging and ultimately repurposing this material important?
David: So many remarkable stories are in danger of being lost forever. Yet there is a huge mobile, online, and radio audience that wants to hear them. As a former print journalist I always thought about these amazing conversations I had on tape that no one ever got to hear after I finished a story. There is something about hearing someone tell a story in an intimate setting versus reading what was said. We want to help print journalists expand their portfolios and realize the untapped value of the interviews gathering dust on their tapes and computer hard drives. It’s about rebooting and striking back in the face of a print media world that’s been turned upside down. Plus it’s easy to do.

FJP: When you get an audio interview in, what happens next?
David: We take a listen and and cull the interviews for the must-hear outtakes. We want evergreen stories. Unexpected conversations from the well known and universal tales from everyday Americans. Then our talented public radio-seasoned producers polish and edit the audio, add some music and storytelling, and a Blank on Blank is born. We turn most interviews into smart audio slideshows. And cartoonists, illustrators, filmmakers, graphic artists, and photographers turn these pieces into inventive videos that live on YouTube and beyond.

FJP: I’ve seen Blank on Blank production on PRX. What’s that all about? How and where is this material being used and distributed?
David: The Public Radio Exchange (PRX.org) is a phenomenal partner. They distribute both our new podcast and our interview segments to public radio stations. So now Blank on Blank content is being heard on stations across the country, as well as on XM Satellite radio. PRX is also home to The Moth Radio Hour, WTF with Marc Maron, and 99% Invisible, so we are honored to be in such must-hear company.

FJP: How can journalists get involved?
David: It’s easy. Have an interview or an interview excerpt you think should be heard? Go to http://blankonblank.org/your-interviews/ and tell us about it. Maybe there was an aside, an anecdote, or unbelievable story that came up when reporting a story. Or one that didn’t make it into print, but it always stuck with you. Perhaps there is a choice back and forth you think encapsulates an article or book you are writing now or years ago. Think of this as a multimedia sidebar to reach whole new audiences. Then all it takes is uploading the digital interview file to our storage cloud (or getting us a tape). From there we do all the production work. We also welcome any and all editorial input and do love recording our contributors to set the scene for their interview, if they’d like to.

FJP: You have a Kickstarter up and running, what do you plan to do with the funds if you raise them?
David: We’ve launched a slightly different kind of Kickstarter. This funding platform has become such a creative force we thought it was an ideal place to raise not only money ($10,000), but content. We’re looking to raise 30 lost interviews in 30 days - the best unheard conversations from journalists that have never been heard. The best excerpts from these interviews will be transformed and shared with new audiences. Funds raised on Kickstarter will go directly to covering audio and video production costs.

FJP: Why should a journalist or a publication partner with Blank on Blank?
David: Why shouldn’t they? We make it nearly effortless for our contributors to get more mileage from work that’s already been done. They reach new listening and video audiences simply by getting us an interview, raising the awareness of the journalist, the publication, and even driving a new audience back to the original print stories. We’ll take it from there. Our contributors keep the rights to their original interviews and get a new piece of multimedia to host on their website. Plus Blank on Blanks are perfect for spreading via social media.  Our sole mission as a non-profit is to preserve journalists’ interviews and bring your work to life.

Gage Skidmore: How one teenager gives the GOP its Flickr close-up

shortformblog:

You don’t know him, but you’ve seen his work: The rise of Creative Commons has leveled the playing field for bloggers, giving many the opportunity to illustrate stories with free-to-use images that are at times comparable to wire photos. But the quality varies, and it’s rare to find someone sharing high-quality pictures consistently — but Gage Skidmore pulls it off. The 18-year-old photographer, who shoots celebrities and conservative politicians largely as a hobby, has uploaded nearly 9,000 photos to Flickr since early 2008, and thanks to favorable licensing, finds his photos of famous and important people in use all over the Web — including such sites as MSNBC, Fox NewsThe Atlantic and Mashable. What drives his work? Click on to see his take on the matter.

Read More

FJP: Over at ShortFormBlog Ernie Smith interviews Gage Skidmore about the photos he’s been taking of political candidates. Definitely worth the read

Not familiar with the Creative Commons? Familiarize.

Mr. Hitchcock, what is your definition of happiness?

Once you’ve put yourself on record in an interview, and you’re sort of thinking fast and saying the first thing that pops into your mind, basically, anything to fill up the air time or the reporter’s time, it’s a little disconcerting, when you’re younger than I, to realize that these remarks which you toss off, once they’re in print, have an equal weight with all the words that you’ve labored to polish and make come out exactly right.
John Updike telling Terry Gross why he once called interviews ‘a form to be loathed.’ [complete interview here] (via nprfreshair)
Benjamin Lowy has photographed conflict zones from Iraq, to Darfur to Afghanistan. His upcoming book, Iraq | Perspectives, is coming out this fall.
In an interview with Jörg Colberg, Lowy describes a series of photos taken from inside a Humvee:

Originally I began shooting out my car window because, at the time, it was the only way to photograph the Iraqi “street.” It was too dangerous to just simply walk. But I began shooting out these windows, mostly because my mother kept asking me what Iraq was like. What Baghdad was like. The only pictures she saw from me or other journalists were embeds, raids, bombs sites, and hospitals. So this was my attempt to photograph something different, to show her, to show people in the West, a different Iraq. At the same time, the framing mechanism of the window itself became part of the picture, it became a metaphor for the barrier between our worlds.

The interview itself is a recommended longread. In it, Lowry discusses the pressures of career and family when conflict zones are your place of work, what it means to be embedded and his perspective on the Iraq war in general.
Interview | Lowy’s site.

Benjamin Lowy has photographed conflict zones from Iraq, to Darfur to Afghanistan. His upcoming book, Iraq | Perspectives, is coming out this fall.

In an interview with Jörg Colberg, Lowy describes a series of photos taken from inside a Humvee:

Originally I began shooting out my car window because, at the time, it was the only way to photograph the Iraqi “street.” It was too dangerous to just simply walk. But I began shooting out these windows, mostly because my mother kept asking me what Iraq was like. What Baghdad was like. The only pictures she saw from me or other journalists were embeds, raids, bombs sites, and hospitals. So this was my attempt to photograph something different, to show her, to show people in the West, a different Iraq. At the same time, the framing mechanism of the window itself became part of the picture, it became a metaphor for the barrier between our worlds.

The interview itself is a recommended longread. In it, Lowry discusses the pressures of career and family when conflict zones are your place of work, what it means to be embedded and his perspective on the Iraq war in general.

Interview | Lowy’s site.

Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers on the art of the interview, part 02.

In which Stewart discusses his inability to interview Donald Rumsfeld and Moyers talks about the difference between narrating and reporting, and why he doesn’t want to interview politicians because their goal is to conceal rather than reveal.

Part 01 is here.

Run Time: 4:45