Recording Interviews

Friday, August 15, 2008
When I landed my first assignment - some 30 years ago when I was a beat reporter on my college's newspaper - I carried my trusty notebook with me everywhere I went. When the time arrived to interview someone, I had it close at hand and using my own version of shorthand, would record her words, hoping a brilliant quote would tumble from her mouth.

But that notebook recorded more than the interviewee's words. The notebook was filled with sensory details: how the interview subject responded to a question, the crispness of the air, the feel of the chair I'm sitting in. These pieces of detail added a personal touch to my stories.

Until June, I still took notes during interviews. It was after a two-hour interview for a magazine profile that I decided I would invest in a digital recorder. It's been a lifesaver! The model I have is small enough to slip into a shirt pocket. It's simple to use and reduces the possibility that I miss a word during an interview session.

I still carry the notebook with me, and while the recorder does its job, I take note of the small details I notice.


Rachel V. Olivier said...

What kind of digital voice recorder did you get? What did you to decide on the one you eventually got? Are you happy with it, or is there another one you wish you'd gotten?

LuAnn Schindler said...

Hi Rachel. I have an Olympus VN-3100. It might not be as "high tech" as others out there, but it does what I need it to do. And, I got it on eBay for under $10, including shipping, and when I receeived it, the company also sent a coupon for another $3 my next purchase. I haven't used that yet, but I use the recorder all the time.

In fact, I had an interview yesterday with a cowboy boot maker and it was 2 hours long. I recorded it and will transcribe notes later. And today, on my way home, I stopped at an old fashioned soda fountain and interviewed the owner. That took another 45 minutes, but with the recorder, it defintely was better than trying to keep up with him since he was a fast talker! :)

I'm happy with it. Sure, it would be nice to have one that I could attach to the computer and have it type my notes, but I like relistening to the interview. A lot of times, I'll catch the nuances of the interviewees voice at a particular time and include that in my writing.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

Right price, and sounds like it does what you need it too. I'll have too look at that one. Thank you!

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