While reading Bruce Jackson’s Fieldwork chapter, I kept being reminded of a situation I experienced a couple of weeks ago. I was in Lockwood library getting help from one of the librarian’s when I overheard someone from a campus newspaper (*cough*The Spectrum*cough) “interviewing” one of the librarian’s nearby. It was right around the time that the gun incident in Lockwood occurred, and I later found out that the paper intended to do a story about safety in the libraries. However, the person doing the interviewing broke pretty much every rule that Jackson stated in his chapter. She was rude, she badgered the librarian and she asked biased questions like “so the school doesn’t care about the safety of the students in the library?” I was appalled that this person was representing the integrity of the school newspaper. Not only that, but she was representing the integrity of journalists everywhere. She failed to make the librarian comfortable and she actually managed to make me uncomfortable and I wasn’t even involved. Furthermore, she didn’t even manage to get any information from the woman she interviewed which was the point of talking to her in the first place. Another thing she failed to take into account was that she is only a student and the librarian was significantly older so the way that she was speaking to her was very disrespectful. Maybe school newspaper journalists need a crash course in appropriate interviewing techniques, because being willing to ask tough questions does not suffice.
Interviewing 101 March 15, 2010