Calling All D.C. Reporters!
Reporters near the nation’s capitol get extra exciting assignments.
Being a Kid Reporter near Washington, D.C., is an amazing experience! My assignments have covered important topics concerning national issues.
Two interesting ones were First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity, and learning how to clean an oil covered bird from the curator at the aviary at the National Zoo. These are just two examples where I had to develop special ways to interact with people. In journalism we call this conducting an interview.
The most important challenge to being a good reporter is developing the ability to interview anybody under any circumstance.
First and foremost, you want to be prepared.You need to research the topic and the people involved. In the case of the premiere of an IMAX movie about the Hubble telescope at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, I had to be ready t to interview scientists, astronauts, directors, engineers, the IMAX owner, and many more.
I did lots of research so I could interact with all of these people. I also practiced by role-playing sample questions with adults. You should know your questions and be comfortable asking them BEFORE you go into the official interview.
On the red carpet for the premiere, I was given a small spot to stand along the rope line. I was next to big network reporters from Fox and NBC. I was a foot shorter then everybody else, so I had to be extra assertive to get noticed. I would stick my hand out for a handshake and look the person right in the eye.
Eye contact is important when you are asking someone questions. It helps you connect with them, and it inspires them to give a more in-depth answer since you are paying attention.
Take fast, accurate notes and be ready to think quick! If you get an unexpected answer, you will want to be on your toes for either a followup or clarification. One unexpected answer can change the whole direction of your interview AND your story.
You should also be prepared to talk about yourself (but only if asked!). I found that the interviewees are often as interested in asking me questions about being a Scholastic Kid Reporter as I am about asking them questions. Sometimes it was hard to get them to talk about themselves—I would become the one being interviewed. In that case, be prepared to redirect attention back onto the topic at hand!
Want to apply? Check out the entry process at this link.
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Jonas Hosmer interviews Denis Hayes, Earth Day Organizer, Earth Day 2010 Chair, President and CEO Bullitt Foundation, at an Earth Day event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., April 2010. (Photo Courtesy Jonas Hosmer)