If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
By Alina Croft (Instagram: lina_gail, Twitter: alina_croft)
I love my career choice. Every day I get excited about the new people I interact with and use my words to share others’ stories. I get butterflies in my stomach thinking about how people read the things published by me and impact them. But of course, there are some tips and tricks to the trade to getting what I need for one of those articles. Let’s dig into my brain a little bit, and I’ll explain it.
Of course, the first step of a successful article or writing piece (after coming up with the idea for the feature) is getting that interview. This is, by far, in my opinion, the hardest part. You begin easy-going, introduce yourself, make your intentions clear about what you want to talk to the subject about and be very kind. They are doing you a favor by making time to speak with you and agreeing to share details about their lives that they may not have ever shared with anyone, let alone a practical stranger a publishable article. This is very important to remember.
I’ve found it best to offer a large host of times you are available to do the interview and make sure you stay available during those times. And follow-up! People are busy with their own lives, and sometimes this interview is not their top priority, but that’s okay; just check-in and remind them about the time slots open and when the conversation is set, make sure to send a reminder. This will give you the most significant chance of finding a time frame that lines up. I also like to express why I think talking to the subject is interesting, important, or whatever my genuine feelings are. Remember that your guests, just like you, are human and can sense when you’re disingenuous, and there is no point in wasting time being so. Be real, and they’re more likely to feel comfortable agreeing to the interview. It is also important to take out the personal judgment of what someone says. Again, we are all human, and we are all unique, which is why journalists are in business. Put yourself in their shoes and do everything to look at situations through their eyes. Be empathetic.
After just the process of setting up a time to speak, there’s also the dilemma of a mode to talk through, whether it’s in person, video chat, or a phone call. Still, be entirely present no matter the way it’s done. Try to minimize distractions as much as possible and go in with your research done. Know some basic facts about the person, have an idea of what you want to ask, and once again, be entirely genuine and remind them why speaking about their story is essential to you. Don’t be afraid to let them in as well. Have a conversation with them, relate when applicable and express your real emotions to them. Also, don’t be afraid to get off-topic. Sometimes, the story actually lies.
Truthfully this all comes down to trust. So my final advice as an intern, a writer, and in my last piece to you is to trust yourself. Be sure of who you are, your ethical values, and your abilities. Don’t get cocky and become complacent, but trust who you are with a calm sense of self, which will radiate into the interview process. From there, I hope you have the keys to begin your writing and put bits and pieces of your heart and soul in the words you decide to share with the world.
Note from Anthony – Intern Alina; what can I say? It’s been so amazing having you on the team the last few months. Honestly, amazing sounds like such a boring/lame word to describe how it’s been working with you, but it gets the point across. You’ve embodied what it means to enter into someone’s stories and create fantastic content from what had been shared. You’ve been flexible, creative, positive, and overall, nothing but a top-tier talent. I know that you are heading to big places in your career, so to brag about the fact that I was able to have you write for my little old website, is something I will always cherish. Keep sharing stories! Keep loving on people well! And remember AAT when you hit it in the big!
Thank you, and we’ll most definitely be seeing YOU around!
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Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!