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Interview/Vox pop preparation and construction

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by

Mark Barrow

on 12 February 2014

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Transcript of Interview/Vox pop preparation and construction

Interview/Vox pop preparation and construction
Portable recording equipment
When asked to complete the radio interviews, it was - evidently - a necessity to get to understand the
required equipment,
so that the raw interviews could be successfully
recorded, analysed
and
edited
onto our finished broadcast.
The main item of equipment that was used was the Olympus
Voice Recorder
- owned by Oldham Sixth Form College - which was used to
record each interview and Voxpop.
In order to complete these, I simply turned the piece of equipment on, before pressing the
'record'
red button. Although I could have used a
Microphone
(to record), I felt that this wasn't essential, as the interviews took place within
offices,
which meant that
background noise wasn't an issue.

Therefore, i simply held the recorder
close
to the
interviewee's face,
in order to receive an acceptable
volume
quality. Once completed, I transported the material onto a College computer - via a USB cable - which meant that they could be
edited

to an acceptable amount, and
transcripts
could be obtained.
Also, I borrowed a College
digital camera (Fugifilm),
in order to receive
photographs of the interview.
This was a extra way of providing evidence to the interviews, due to them being recorded and not filmed - I felt that it would be a good idea to receive a photo of the procedure.
Question preparation
When establishing what
questions
we should use to
interrogate
our interviewees, we decided that lengthy,
'Open' questions,

as these lead to
greater responses,
and therefore a more
detailed answer.

It was important to not include any
'Closed' questions,
as these would only return a limited
'yes or no' response,
which
isn't

very
interesting or entertaining
,
especially upon radio.
For example, when interviewing Michael Meacher MP, one of the questions was:
'At the Conservative Party conference, Mr. Cameron pledged to push, nag and guide young people away from the dole queue - do you feel that this is the correct way to reduce youth unemployment?'.
Eventhough this question appears incredibly
long-winded,
it managed to relinquish a more
creative reply.
The question could, in-fact, have just comprised of the last section (after the dash), without the previous factual information. However, if that was the case, then we would be in danger of only getting a
minimal answer.
Yet, the extra information gave Mr. Meacher a chance to
elaborate
on Mr. Cameron's statement, the Conservatives' wrong-doings and the overall success of the conference, as opposed to
simply youth unemployment.
Interview procedure
The
actual interviews
themselves were constructed in the
usual manner,
in terms of the
interviewer (me) initially asking the questions,

before the
interviewee gives a detailed answer.
I then asked a
new question,
when it became clear that the previous question had been
answered
or become
exhausted - where repetition and silence is observed.
However, throughout the interviews, I gave
support and encouragement

to the guests, by exclaiming audible forms of
agreement

- usually through uttering
'hmm'.
Also, when the interviewee was beginning to
repeat themselves,
or drastically
exceed the time limit,

I gave
hand-gestures,
to suggest that the topic needed to be ended. This is the only way of doing this task, without having to
interrupt

the flow with a statement, such as: 'We are starting to run out of time, so...'.
Nevertheless, there were
secluded instances
where the usual procedure was
altered.

For instance, when Michael Meacher MP was discussing taxation, he actually
asked me a question,
to coincide with his feelings of the richest 1% of the population not being taxed heavily enough. He asked:
'What do you think has happened to the richest 1000 persons?'
,
before my reply was deemed correct, as I stated:
'They haven't been taxed as heavily as Labour would have liked.'
Nick Robinson example
When
planning my interviewing,
I looked at
alternative interrogators,
which resulted in me researching the
BBC's Political correspondent, Nick Robinson,
as I felt that his
no-nonsense attitude
to political questioning was a good approach to
mirror,
especially with my two interviewees representing
Politics,
in one shape or form.
In this interview with former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Robinson is heard asking very
'Open' questions,
which gives the indication that he is
in-charge

of the
interview.
For example, the extract begins with Robinson probing:
'How will Gordon Brown be different in the months to come, compared to the months we've just seen where you made some of them mistakes?'.
This question is simply asking, 'What will you do, in the coming months?'. However, due to Robinson mentioning Brown's mistakes, he has immediately got him on the
back-foot,
due to Brown having to
defend himself,
along with stating
forthcoming policies,
and how mistakes will be eradicated. A
'Closed' question
wouldn't require this extended detail.
Also, as is the case in Political questioning, there is use of
interruptions
(on Robinson's part), when he is asking about a a possible new leader for the Labour Party - something that Brown wouldn't particularly enjoy answering, due to him being the leader, at that time.
Therefore, this style of questioning, in my opinion, is extremely

clever

- when
prying for detail and mistakes
- especially when interviewing a Politician.
Vox pops
When completing the
Voxpops,
the style of interviewing was different, compared to the interviews of Michael Meacher MP and Councillor Shoab Akhtar. This is largely because they
don't require

as much
detail and lengthy responses
- when questioning - as they are only meant to receive an
idea of what people think

about a specific proposal; achieving an average, in other words.
Therefore, although the questions were still
'Open',
they didn't require as much of a answer - many only warranting
minimal response
.
For instance, when I asked people about the news, one of my questions was:
'Do you prefer to watch the News on TV or Radio?'.
In theory, this question is effectively a
'Closed'
one, as the interviewee only has to say
one word (
TV or Radio). However, people then go on to discuss the
reasons why
they made their choice - which was usually because, on TV, you can also watch the footage - as it enables them to
justify their choice.
Therefore, Voxpop interviewing tends to be more
relaxed
and
informal

(people are generally ordinary citizens, rather than famous figures), hence the
less lengthy questioning,

and more
straight-to-the-point answers.
Full transcript