Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recalling 9/11 via interviews

I'm often emotionally detached from an issue, including when I write a news story. In fact, many years ago in supervisor training at Ford, I was criticized in a role-playing exercise for not appearing sufficiently empathetic to a subordinate's problem. I realized afterward that my critics were right, but it took some time for me to come around. I was genuinely surprised by the feedback.

It's not that I don't care; better, I think, to approach the issue analytically, in order to resolve it most effectively.

For a recent story on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I interviewed seven people over the phone, recorded the conversations on iPadio software, and published a two-part story.

Part of the fun of writing the story was weaving together the disparate stories, identifying common ground while highlighting the uniqueness of each person's experience.

As I listened to them tell their stories, I was emotionally affected, although I was surprised by it. Parts of their stories responated with me, because I too faced that awful day almost ten years ago. I am grateful to my interview subjects for sharing their stories with me, and for helping to bring yet another new satisfaction with my new career to life.


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