Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More questions, more answers: taking notes, resistance and evolution

I really feel like Dear Abby now.

I've received a few more questions. I have a few more answers. And I didn't even make you wait four months this time.

Q: When you do interviews on your iPad, do you feel as if that saves you transcription time? 

A: For sure. I absolutely could not function without my iPad now.

I use the Notability app to record all of my interviews, and a stylus to jot notes/keywords down during the interview, along with the time during the recording where I can find that information/quote. For example:

There are my notes for a recent workout of the week, Aerial Yoga. I have a series of questions I always ask for this review, which I copied and pasted into my Notability file. I recorded the interview with the instructor and then jotted down the time that she answered the various questions. Her background: 56 seconds. What makes it different: two minutes and 23 seconds and again at seven minutes 35 seconds -- and again we touched on the topic at 11 minutes, 53 seconds. She also talked about something that was not on my prepared questions: misconceptions people have about aerial yoga, which she brought up at nine minutes.

The system speeds up the interview and writing process by a ton.

First, you don't have to write a lot during the interview, which makes your interviews flow better (with no awkward pauses). And you can go back to the time you wrote down and get the exact quote. There is no chance of misquoting someone -- ever. Just try to dispute with me that "I did not say that." I will play it back for you, sweetie. Bam.

Plus, it's environmentally friendly (with no paper waste). 

Q: Do you feel that the current colleagues are adequately embracing the utilization of IJ technologies?

A: In my newsroom, yes. The Daily Camera is a uniquely open, embracing, experimental and free newsroom with no resistance to ideas and progress. Seriously, I've never brought an idea to my editor to be shot down. I think that's why we produce such great work: our editors trust us and believe in us, so we exceed their expectations. I think other journalists in my newsroom would love to use these techniques if they knew how. The problem is finding time to train people -- and teaching them that it can save them time, not create yet another job duty.

I cannot speak for other newsrooms, but I think there is a little resistance industry-wide in the form of fear and also exhaustion. Our jobs are already so demanding -- from the outside, you really would be shocked by how much a typical journalist does -- that the idea of adding yet another task to the table seems impossible. But it's not. It can save time, and add a layer of fun, creativity and satisfaction to your job.

Q: Does your experience reveal that IJ may eventually replace the traditional reporting process?

A: Without a doubt, although even what I am doing today will evolve by tomorrow. We have all of these incredible apps, programs and technology that can help us with our job. It's only common sense to use them to our benefit.

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