Meet People

via ebyline.biz

I cannot stress this enough. It’s great to call people on the phone, but putting a voice or name to a face is something I’ve really made the effort to do.

Meeting someone for a story, it’s a bit more work, but the stories are better because of it.

Look at this recent story on a Willimantic Woman who helped apprehend a man who broke into her home. She chased him through the neighborhood until neighbors called the police. Woman helps catch burglar

I could have just spoken on the phone with her, but I asked her if a photographer and I could walk through what she went through. She thankfully agreed and the rest is a 700+ word story.

I didn’t have to go out and meet her. I could have gotten a similar, less detailed, story by just having a 25-minute conversation over the phone.

All it takes is a little bit of forward thinking and a simple question. She didn’t have to say yes. I wasn’t planning on her saying yes at all, but I figured it was worth a shot. It really doesn’t hurt to ask.

Meeting people isn’t restricted to people who have had their homes burglarized. If it’s feasible with your schedule and your hours, I really think it can be a good practice to meet people as much as possible. Phone conversations only get you so far.

When you are the scene or at someone’s home it’s a whole different experience.

Being on scene puts everything in perspective and the story will get better because of it. You see and hear what they do. You get a better view of how things are because, from what I’ve experienced, people open up more when they are in a place they are comfortable with. I’ve also realized some people just don’t like talking on the phone.

Now, details that the source may miss or not describe over the phone  won’t be missed. You can give yourself a better opportunity to actually put yourself in their shoes. By walking and sitting where they have, you can try to put the reader there as well.

Now, I’m still getting used to those kind of details since I’m a hard news guy. It takes time. For some people, details like that may come naturally.

For me, it’s an uphill struggle.

Jonathan

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2 Responses to Meet People

  1. opiningquill says:

    The difference between those that become a great success and those that stagnate in a profession is doing what others are not willing to do. Yes it takes a little more time and effort but in the end it opens more opportunities, provides more experience and prepares you for challenges that others will never see.

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