When Reporters Become the News
Covering Haiti put Kid Reporters in the spotlight for a job well done.
Kid Reporters are like any other reporter when it comes to covering the news. But sometimes, we become the news, which happened this past week when I was interviewed by two different TV reporters and a radio journalist.
Fellow Kid Reporter Andrew Liang and I were chosen to speak to the press on behalf of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps and its coverage of the earthquake in Haiti. About half of the 54 reporters dropped everything the weekend after the earthquake to report on relief efforts in our individual communities. You can read all about it in a Special Report called Crisis in Haiti.
Our first interview was on WXIA, 11 Alive, a local TV news program in Atlanta, Georgia. I felt like I was on the hot seat, being the one to answer the questions rather than ask them.
A few days later, Andrew and I were interviewed by Mr. Steve Goss, a radio host for National Public Radio (NPR). NPR airs on WABE 90.1 FM in Atlanta. Unlike the 11 Alive interview, this one was taped to be aired later. The focus of the radio interview was a little different. Mr. Goss wanted to know about our jobs as reporters. His asked about the difference between reporting for kids and reporting for adults.
On Monday, it was back to live TV, this time for the national cable network MSNBC. I was really nervous, because this was a live, national show. Once we were prepped for the interview, I was fine, though. Ms. Contessa Brewer, a news anchor for MSNBC, mainly asked questions about our coverage on Haiti and how it is helpful for kids to have a news source designed specifically for them.
I have been thinking about what I’ve learned from these three different interviews. All three reporters treated us as professionals and with respect. We did not know what questions they were going to ask, although we did know the subjects. The experience taught me that I should always be prepared and know my facts, just as I have to do when I report the news.
Being on the other side of the interview isn’t as easy as it may seem. You have to know your subject and think quickly. These experiences taught me the importance of listening and telling stories well. You have to go into an interview prepared with your information. You have to listen carefully to what people ask, and speak clearly in reply. You also have to stay objective. And finally, don’t forget to thank the interviewer!
I realized that even though I was not doing the reporting, I was still a journalist. My responsibility on either side of a story is to share information correctly.
Three times in one week as the person on the other side of the interview proved to be an exciting experience that I learned a lot from and that I will always remember
PHOTO: Kid Reporters N'Naserri Carew-Johnson and Andrew Liang on the set of MSNBC waiting to be interviewed on live TV. (Photo Courtesy N'Naserri Carew-Johnson)