Have you ever thought that interviewing someone is hard? I have no idea that being an interviewee is even harder.
It’s not that I’ve done something great. No, I was just helping my friend the other day on his story about Facebook timeline. In my humblest opinion, I was awful. Just totally, irrevocably, awful.
As a journalism student, a journalist, and a blogger, I have done quite a number of interviews. My first interview was calling a fire brigade department to get some comments on a fire that was happening in the city. Not only it was my first day as a journalist, it was also my first piece of writing, and yes, my first interview.
It was a disaster.
Okay, it was not that bad. But the fire brigade spokesperson had a very thick Australian accent, and for heaven’s sake, at that time I was still new to speaking-and-reading-and-listening-to-conversation-in-English thingy!
I asked the same question again, again, and again, and even though this story is heavily exaggerated, I believed it was the one thing that got me started: if I could interview someone who had a very thick Australian accent, I could do it again.
(If you’re curious, read my first and foremost story as a journalist here: Collins Place fire, workers evacuated).
Over time, I managed to do phone interview, face-to-face interview, and email interview. I haven’t decided which one is my best interview up to date, well, because, I kind of sucked in doing interviews as well. And when I interview people, I have never used a pen, and I barely use my list of questions – the interviews that I’ve done are more like chatting and asking whatever-comes-up-to-your-mind-that-is-relevant-to-your-story-thing.
So far, my interviewees are good at what they are doing. They talk much, they explain stuffs, they give me grabs that are worthy to be quoted, and I have never found any trouble in trying to decide which quote is good for my piece. They all just nail the interview.
After two years of being an interviewer, I kind of think that it’s so hard to become an interviewer, and how I wish I’m on the other side of the equation. It’s not like I have something newsworthy, but I guess, it’s just nice to be quoted.
I am, again, totally, and irrevocably wrong.
You see, it is hard to be an interviewee. And I’m not even on the other side of the equation for 60 minutes (which is usually the length of my interview). Nope, I’m just there for about 2 minutes. Can you believe it? 2 minutes!
I hope I don’t fail my friend on his Facebook timeline assignment, but I guess my comments were horrible. There were a lot of grammar mistakes, and half of the sentences that I uttered were complete nonsense. (Again, I guess this story is highly exaggerated, but that’s how I remember it).
So the next time someone gives me a great quote, I will give him or her a salute, because, well, it’s just something that requires talent.
It is indeed a gift, to be a great interviewee.
Have you ever become an interviewer and an interviewee? Which role do you like the most? Tell your story in the comment below.