Saturday, April 9, 2011

GDF Interview Impressions

Because I conducted the GDF interview, I will not be providing the interview analysis concerning what was said. Nick will have a post analyzing what surprised him about the interview (the fact that the basketball recruiting class may not be done yet comes to mind) as well as what follow-up questions it raises sometime later this week. In the meantime, we had a reader comment or two which asked how I thought the interview went, and I thought that it would be interesting to give our readers some insight into how these interviews work and what challenges they present.

It was surprisingly easy interviewing GDF. I usually find it a little awkward interviewing people I've never met before, in part because there isn't a rapport with the interviewee. I think this generally makes people a little more guarded and suspicious of questions. I also like to joke around a little bit in interviews to lighten the mood but if the little jokes fall flat with someone you don't know, then you've really dug yourself a hole. GDF seemed fairly comfortable from the outset and really opened up after the first few questions. That made my job infinitely easier and more enjoyable.

It's incredibly difficult to transcribe audio tape into a written format. While most of the time I just let the tape go for two sentences, press stop, write it up, and then press start again, punctuation is always a matter of discretion for the writer, and is oftentimes very difficult to determine. For example, there is a subtle difference between the punctuation in the sentences "you know, our women's soccer team went to the final four this year" and "you know our women's soccer team went to the final four this year." The differences are often subtle, but I try to be as true to what GDF intended to say as possible because sometimes the differences are quite major.

Similar problems arise with the word "and." GDF isn't really any different from either you or I in that he verbalizes the word "and" a lot more than what is grammatically correct because it creates a much less segmented way of speaking. What's not awkward verbally can become awkward when written because it creates the impression of run-on sentences. So the question becomes how to break up the thoughts into more proper sentences, but to do that I need to make judgments on what thoughts were most meant to be placed together, again, slightly changing the meaning of the audio.

I was also surprised at the warm reception I received in GDF's office. He treated me as I would assume he treats someone from The Boston Globe or Sports Illustrated. I never felt like a member of a small-time blog, which I thought was incredible given how busy GDF must be. Everyone from the receptionists to the people in the other offices were equally as nice and that gave me confidence that BC can start currying favor from other media outlets.

There were a few follow up questions that I would have liked to ask with hindsight. Follow up questions are difficult in one-man interviews because I only walk in with a rough outline of what I want to ask. I ordered the questions before-hand, but my ordering was based on the presumption that GDF took each question and ran with it in a certain way. How he answered the question in realty determined what question was most appropriate to be asked next. This constant reordering of questions helps improve the flow of the interview. This also makes follow-ups more difficult though because instead of really grasping what he was saying, I was often sifting through the other questions trying to see what would best fit next.

I apologize for the non-sports related tangent but I thought readers would appreciate a little insight into the interview process.

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