Wednesday, 9 December 2009

On Writing #5: A Journalistic Alter Ego

I’m not a trained journalist but yesterday I had to step into a journalist’s shoes and interview somebody for a magazine article I am writing.

The article is about people with fibromyalgia who have had their benefits withheld having fallen foul of the government's latest scheme to catch benefit fraudsters.

To the supermarket cafe where I was to meet my first interviewee, I took an archaic Dictaphone, a notepad and a pen. I tried to project a proficient journalistic facade, harbouring the virtuosity of Woodward and Bernstein but that was dashed immediately: I approached the wrong lady; I was feeling lucky and thought I would take a punt, after all she both resembled the description I had been given and was giving me the proverbial eye - she confused me.

So I sensibly decided to just be myself and phoned my interviewee. She was only a few feet away (and several years younger than the woman I had just mistakenly accosted) waving at me - nice start.

Anyhow, the harmless blunder did well to break the ice and the interview went well, although the audio on the Dictaphone is hard to hear at times, partly due to a child nearby that occasionally screams and at one point, came right over and started fiddling with my interviewee’s handbag!

The article is in its early stages; however, I will be charting its progress in following blog posts.

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