Friday, February 23, 2007

It's time to be a professional...

I've had a particularly rough week covering a story. Y'all know I never go into specifics, but here's the gist: I've been interviewing people who aren't quite used to being interviewed. It's hard. I've gotten cursed out for calling and one person hung up on me in mid-sentence. I almost cried. I gotta get a thicker skin. This is crazy.

I've never had such a hard time getting people to talk to me. I'm nice when I call to try to set up an interview. It's not a controversial topic: so why am I having so much difficulty?

I'm just trying to keep my head up and plow ahead. This has to work out. It just has to.


Paula Neal Mooney said...

It'll work out -- Hey, who cursed at my Tara? Let me at 'em!

Meranda said...

My editor handed me an assignment at 2:50 p.m. earlier this week. I was supposed to get off at 4 p.m. He wanted me to localize an AP story about a bill that had just passed in the state House and was going to the Senate. It had to do with farms. And it was for A1 the following day.

First of all, I'm the education reporter. I do not do farms. Second, I'd already filed two stories that day. But, eh, you do what your editor assigns, right? Even if it means you have an hour to find several sources to talk about something you don't even understand yourself and turn the story around. No pressure.

Luckily the student correspondent had covered a meeting last month that had several local people speak on a topic similar enough to what I wanted. But uh, no phone numbers, just some names. I took his list and some names from our archives and looked as many as I could up in the phone book and just started dialing and leaving messages.

I just kept calling. Dial. Message. Hang up. Start over. Probably 20 people.

I think I eventually got about five or six people on the phone. Two wouldn't talk to me on the record. One refered me to his lawyer. Only one of them actually called me back after I left a message.

I ended up working until about 5:30 ish trying to wrap that up (and a last minute fire my editor wanted me to write up as a brief).

The point of this is just keep trucking. I could have given up after the 10th unanswered call or after the guy who would have been perfect and was even familiar with the legislation referred me to his lawyer. I could have. But, like you said, you just got to swallow your pride, toughen your skin and keep working at it. It will all work out.

The next morning, the managing editor actually sent me an e-mail telling me what a good job I did with my story and the quick turnaround. So yeah. :) Good luck.