I have been interviewing individuals since I was a high school journalist looking to find out more about my community for Hoover High School’s Viking Views. In the last two years, I’ve taken my interviewing skills one step further and begun conducting qualitative research. The process of interviewing has remained the same, but I now find myself doing in-depth interviews on a wide range of topics, mostly related to the music industry and journalism.

When I studied abroad in London this past May, I had the chance to conduct one of my very best interviews. I spoke with Paul Bridgewater, the editor of music blog Line of Best Fit, about the content on his website and how blogs are changing the role of publicity and journalism in the music industry. Paul and I ended up speaking for over two hours, and we found we related on a number of levels despite our different backgrounds and national identities. His interview gave me not only the content I needed for my research, but a valuable contact who I keep in touch with.

This is a trend that has continued for me in Prague. I had the opportunity to interview Tony Ozuna, the dean of journalism at Anglo-American University. The situation was similar: I have great content from Tony’s interview about the differences between Czech and American consumption of entertainment media. He has a remarkable grasp of the two cultures, with plenty of practical experience to support what he knows. He gave me insight into the extent of the Czech love for their own culture. However, beyond the content of the interview, Tony and I spoke at length about music journalism and how it’s changing. When Tony showed me one of the books he uses to teach cultural writing – Spin: 20 Years of Alternative Music – I had to laugh, as the book is one my parents gave me as a Christmas gift. Our conversation quickly shifted from Czech consumption of entertainment journalism to an overall change in writing styles within music and entertainment and how young writers are adapting to new platforms of expression. It was exciting to talk with someone who understood my interests and how they relate to my personal goals.

This is why I love interviewing, whether as a journalist or a researcher (or, in many cases, as both). There is ┬ánothing like connecting with another person, especially on a topic that you’re passionate about. The interview process itself is always rewarding; I loved listening to Tony and knowing, as he spoke, how he was going to fit into my paper. It is rewarding knowing that you’re asking the right questions and directing the conversation in a manner that is going to lead to knowledge creation and understanding. Yet it is those moments surrounding the interview that are just as important; connecting with a subject beyond the interview is essential. Being able to openly share opinions and understandings of a common interest is so exciting, especially when there is normally an ocean between you two. The world is smaller than we ever realized, and I am so glad it is.

Feature photo by Anna Hoffman

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