In keeping up with my decision to write about all aspects of the writing/working process, I decided to write weekly recaps.
On Monday, I returned a phone call I had received over the weekend, regarding the National Guard story I’m writing. The officer said that he realized I was already working with someone else from the same office, and originally only wanted me to forward the e-mail I already sent to him. However, he’s now setting up an interview with another officer for me, and I’m very grateful for his help. A lot of Monday was spent playing phone tag and sending e-mails.
I also e-mailed several people whose contact information I found on a PDF via Google. One person responded with the “contact so-and-so for further information/before I can give you an interview/because I’m not authorized to speak on the matter/etcetera” response that I’m becoming accustomed to receiving. Another responded Tuesday morning to let me know she no longer works for that particular office; however, she did forward the e-mail to the proper authority, which I appreciate. According to my Post-It, I’m still waiting for two people to reply.
Today, I created a list of potential interview questions and followed up with a source in the hopes of scheduling a Skype video chat either tomorrow or Friday. Skype chatting is my second favorite means of conducting an interview.
+ face to face. Not only is it the most personal method, but it enables the interviewer to observe the interviewee’s body language. Also, settings, such as the interviewee’s office, can provide a more in-depth perspective of the interviewee and offer a different angle.
+ online video chats. Skype (or ooVoo) video chats provide the visual and auditory aspects of an in-person interview, without the time needed to drive to an in-person interview. The downside is the poor quality that can sometimes accompany video chats.
+ telephone. Phone interviews are a decent fallback, as tone (humor, sarcasm, etc.) is still intact, although body language is lost. And, if you are uncomfortable giving out your personal mobile number, Google Voice offers the ability to create a different phone number that forwards to your personal mobile or landline (or both), without revealing your personal number. The service also transcribes voicemails and delivers them to your mobile as text messages; you can also read the transcription or listen to the voicemail online, or by calling your Google Voice inbox. The service also syncs your Gmail contacts to your Google Voice contacts, and allows you to create different voicemail recordings for different contact groups — for example, some people hear the standard voicemail greeting when they call my Google Voice number, while others hear a Mary Kay-oriented greeting.
+ e-mail. E-mails are the least preferred method, as body language and tone are lost in the writing. E-mails also give sources more time to formulate their answers, and if the source does not check e-mail frequently, the interview can take a while (interviews may require a follow-up with more questions or a need for clarification). On the upside, e-mail interviews leave a definite paper trail that can be archived or printed, unlike phone interviews (unless the phone call is recorded). I prefer to use e-mail to set up an interview, as opposed to conduct it. Facebook and Twitter have also been really useful in connecting me with potential sources.