The Rant DJour is from 2009 and was written at an icy cold summer cottage on the Maine coast in the middle of November. The idea occurred to me on the ride from Pa. to Maine where I saw the little bottles of hand sanitizers everywhere.

I have become somewhat germ-phobic. Part of this of course is the relentless media messaging about the swine flu. I am by no means obsessive compulsive about this…More

Blog Post for Thursday 2/10/11 – 10 degrees and darker than the inside of my heart at 5:46 A.M.

Just to help me order this is my mind:

Weekly benchmarks:

Wednesday: A review – of a recently read or viewed, although or probably not recent book or movie.

Thursday: School work – while I take on the the books again you get to see the fruits of that labor.

Saturday: Aggregate – A collection of short thoughts, too little for a full post, too much to leave be.

That’s what I have so far. Maybe it’s enough.

This weeks assignment was based on article here: e-mail interview advice

By the way, that web site, www.poynter.org , is a wealth of great information for writers and would be ones.

If you care not to read it a brief synopsis: E-mail and instant messengers offer great advantages to reporters. But you have to be careful.

The assignment asked some questions about the article. Here is what I turned in:

James Rising

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 AM -Discussion Assignment # 3

I prefer to do a face to face interview when possible. Seeing the person in their own environment is the best, because you can often find out more information by observing the surroundings. Even the set-up of a person’s office furniture and how they sit when you speak with them can betray things about them.

This semester, in a perfect world, I would get to the race-tracks to speak with my subjects. Time and budget constraints will not allow this so the next best avenue is the telephone interview. I would expect to use e-mail and text messaging as the means to set up these interviews. It’s been my observation that this is pretty much standard practice on my beat, so I have no real concerns.

The most useful recommendations I found were contained in the list of further topics at the bottom of the article. I liked these two:
Investigating Websites: How to find out who owns a website and whether it’s trustworthy.

URL Cautionary Tales: If it’s in The New York Times, it must be true, right? Maybe not.

These showed how to protect yourself from using information on the internet that is false. I have used snopes.com for years but these tips were even better.

The benefits for me in using e-mails is the ease in contacting sources who at any given time may be anywhere in the United States. Arranging dates and times for interviews used to involve a tedious round of phone tag and now can be done in one or two e-mail exchanges. The biggest drawback is making sure you don’t land in someone’s “spam” filter. Asking for an immediate reply to confirm receipt avoids that in most cases.

The article cites six drawbacks in using e-mail as an interviewing platform. Among the key ones:

E-mail denies the reporter the chance to ask spontaneous questions or to immediately follow up on an answer.

You have to be very specific with your questions because you can’t ask follow-ups immediately.

These ring true for me as I am a good listener and that skill allows me to get more and better questions by paying attention to previous answers. It also gives you a chance to use that all important question.

Why do you feel that way?

A little different format, as you may (or may not) have noticed. The description of the Rant DJour is now up top. Bounce rate folks, it all about the bounce rate.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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