Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the way i see it: sometimes you need a reminder.

In any compelling interview, there's that one moment where you know you've reached a place in a person's story that isn't often told. The person's voice may quiver and break, and they will get this look in their eyes as if they were seeing one memory in their mind as if it were just yesterday. They tell their story as if they've told it many times before, but they haven't because their stillness signals a pain that can't be removed from that one moment in their narrative.

It comes as a result of a bond of trust and an ease that's flowed throughout the whole conversation. I studied it as a teen and as a journalism student when I would watch and listen to veteran reporters do their thing. It's easy to forget that this moment exists when surrounded by the 24 hour news cycle, though sometimes you do get those rare moments in the prime time hours. As a student of literary journalism, the importance of unearthing these moments is embedded at the front of our minds every time we begin an interview, but I've found that they only emerge when you don't push it, when you let the interview transform into a real connection. Some call it manipulative or soft, arguing that hard news writing is the only kind of interviews that matter. I've done my share of hard interviews, don't get me wrong, but I think I'll always prefer the boldness it takes to produce a long form feature.

It's after these kind of interviews that I remember exactly why I fell in love in college with storytelling. I don't want to keep living without those moments.

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