I’d like to note that I update this entry throughout the week, but I think I’m going to have to start posting twice a week, because this post is long.
It’s Wednesday and I just spoke on the phone with a source I’ve been e-mailing for almost a month. She said that she’s been rather busy, but if I could e-mail my questions to her, she’ll call me to follow up. The phone call lasted less than five minutes, but it took me over fifteen minutes (probably closer to half an hour, total) to prepare myself for the phone call.
I cannot express in words how much I dislike phone calls (says the journalist-to-be). Give me text messages, give me e-mails. Something short, in which I can plan my every word with precision and delete and rewrite until I’m content (you know, the exact same reasons I gave for why I dislike e-mail interviews for journalism). Something that doesn’t include small talk. Something that leaves little room for error (unless, of course, I accidentally send a half-written e-mail instead of saving it). The phone offers none of those amenities, and so when I’m confronted with a phone call (especially to someone I don’t know personally), I like to have a script. Seriously. Before I dialed the number, I typed up a brief script on Microsoft Word and even wrote my available times on a Post-It, in case she wanted to schedule a phone interview (I was hoping for an in-person). I don’t follow it word for word, but it’s comforting to know I have bullet points in front of me, in case I start rambling. And I have to have silence. I don’t like other people to listen to me when I talk on the phone. I was rather happy when my roommate left the apartment … but then I waited too long and she came back and was in the apartment when I made the phone call. Never mind that she was in the living room, not our room, and was probably playing a Sporcle game on her laptop — the fact of the matter is that the apartment is silent and she could hear and what if I messed up?
I am an introvert. If you’ve not read Caring for Your Introvert, I highly recommend it. It’s hilarious and ridiculous and true. Sort of. That aside, the point is that it is sometimes difficult for me to initiate small talk, and a great deal of the conversation you first have upon meeting someone is small talk (only once did I ever discuss religion, politics and sex with someone the first time we ever spoke, but it was a riveting conversation).
So, I’m working on it. I even contemplated making a phone call without a script. The thought entered my mind for a whole two, maybe three, seconds.
In my defense, I plan to make another phone call tomorrow, and promise not to use a script during that phone call.
I’m writing an article for class and publication in the newspaper. It was meant to cover the Japanese Language Exchange and shed light on the meetings students hold to learn Japanese and English. But the meeting I covered didn’t discuss sentences like, “I am an American.” It covered sentences like, “What’s going on?,” “Where is your family?” and “How can I help you?” And now the article has taken a darker turn, and I’m writing about where people were and how they reacted when they learned that their friends were in danger. And it’s incredibly difficult and upsetting and heartbreaking, but I can’t even imagine the pain or fear those students felt and still feel. And I am so blessed.
I called the main military contact on Thursday. My heart was racing because I did it without a script. The secondary contact with whom I’d like an interview had already left the office, so hopefully I’ll receive a phone call on Friday.
And, I sent an e-mail to the source I mentioned yesterday. Yes, it’s an e-mail interview. I included as much information as possible in my questions, because I’ve noticed that when I ask general questions, people sometimes ask me to be more specific or reply that they don’t understand the question, and then that’s a waste of an entire e-mail volley. There’s probably a way to get around that, but I’ve yet to figure it out.
On Friday, it dawned on me that Twitter has been a great way to network and connect with new people in the past. Within minutes, three people responded that they were willing to let me interview them! I wish I would have thought of that earlier.
On Sunday, I received an e-mail from someone I had contacted on Feb. 3. Better late than never!
And on Monday, I received a phone call from my main military contact. Since he was unable to schedule the interview with the other source, he offered to let me interview him! I’m meeting him later today.