If I jot down enough notes, I will most surely be correct

I’ve been working on my trauma interview syllabus. I have a small stack of books and, so far, a half dozen pages of notes and ideas, this first part all about the considerate efforts one should undertake in the interview approach and process, and it is all quite fascinating,.

There are a few industry pros holding workshops with their peers on this sort of thing now. Anyone that’s had to do enough interviews following death notifications, or asked by their editors or producers to sit down with abuse or attack survivors has the beginning of this insight. Right now, though, it is hard-won experience handed down from people who are, most often, not practiced in psychology.

I can almost quote, verbatim, what I was taught about this in J-school, because it was quite brief. A professor said. “You’ll be told to interview someone who’s just lost a loved one. Ask the family members politely if they’d be willing to talk to you. Some people will want to talk with you. Some people will think you’re horrible. Accept whichever response you get, and know it isn’t personal.”

And that was it. It was the nineties.

There’s a lot more to this, a lot more particulars that students should understand. (There was never anything said, nothing at all, about the trauma reporters face and self-care.) If you think of the stories that reporters chase. Think of the places they often find themselves, this stuff will come up for them, and in a hurry.

That’s why I’m cobbling notes and dreaming up a syllabus. It could be useful, and so I look forward to pitching it. I hope I get to teach it one day.

Anyway, the office all day. The studio all night. Sports night there, so there was a lot of baseball talk. It’s the changing of the guard portion of the year. The seniors are getting ready to fly the coop, and the younger students are getting all the heavy lifting. What’s always amazing to me is how, each year, the rising seniors are all just that much better prepared, just that much more comfortable, for their new, bigger roles than the people that came before them.

And while those graduating seniors are now going over details of their contracts or are engaged in in-depth interviews, we’ve got rising sophomores who are ready to take on the world, to say nothing of some rising juniors who are industry ready, right now.

The day-to-day stuff is fine enough, but watching and charting that progress of students, following them as their skills, and their confidence, grows, that’s gratifying stuff.

I always feel like this in the springtime, the bloom of pride in the observation of self-recognition. It’s probably something to do with the flowers.

I suppose it could be the pollen.

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