Uncharted Territory

I had an experience today that has never happened to me and it was extremely awkward. I was unsure how to handle it, and ultimately kind of embarrassed.

I was interviewing a man for an assignment for my Comm 426 class. The assignment is to create an audio/photo story using Soundslides—a software that combines audio and pictures into a nice finished product for publication.

I’ve interviewed numerous people about numerous things and have talked to women, men, children and the elderly, but I’ve never interviewed a person who is professionally diagnosed as mentally challenged.

I was a little apprehensive to start with, but I was going to be talking to him about sports—something that I absolutely love—so I thought I’d be ok. I had a game-plan for the interview and I was prepared to enter it with confidence and come out with everything I needed.

Well, I entered with confidence, but didn’t come out with everything I needed, and probably left a little confidence behind when I exited the interview. It was tough and a place I’ve never been before.

I designed my game-plan based on techniques about interviewing I’ve learned in my journalism classes at Ohio State. Basically it was pretty simple. I made a list of 10 questions that I wanted to ask, and put them in the order I thought I’d ask them. Starting out with the easy questions, just to ease into the interview. You know, the “Introduce Yourself” questions, the “Let Me Know Who You Are” questions. Nothing to touchy.

After asking those and hopefully making the man a little more at ease, I planned on asking him about his disability and how he copes with it, and what role sports play in dealing with it. The answers to these questions would ultimately make up the “meat and potatoes” of my story.

After getting through the “main course” of questions, I was going to finish up with some sweet, fluffy questions, just to make sure we left the interview on good terms and the man would want to talk to me again. Kind of serving up a nice dessert.

All was well through the first set of questions. There were smiles, laughs and giggles. I felt confident. I thought, “Well here we go, let’s get down to business.” So, I asked if he could explain or describe his disability to me.

I was not prepared for what came next. I mean going into it, I thought the worst, you know. I think ultimately you need to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. I thought maybe he would say that it was too touchy of a situation for him to talk about, or that he wouldn’t give me a whole lot on the surface, I’d have to dig for it.

I have strategies for dealing with these things. However, I didn’t have a strategy for what he said to me and I kind of froze, mumbled a little and ultimately ended the interview a lot shorter than I wanted it to be.

His response to me asking if he could explain or describe his disability to me:

“What disability?”

I felt awful. I felt like such a terrible person. I essentially just told this guy there was something wrong with him to his face, and he didn’t know what I was talking about.

I have never been in this situation and I felt terrible. The man was super nice and he was really genuine with me and willing to give me anything I needed, but I didn’t know how to get what I “really” needed.

The answer he gave kind of put an abrupt ending to the interview. Especially, after the about 15 seconds of awkward silence. I told him thank you and that I’ll see him later in the week to spend a day or two with him to take some pictures.

I hope to be able to sit down with him again and talk to him more, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get him to talk about his disorder. I honestly don’t know how to get him to. The last thing I want to do is offend him. I just want to be able to tell his unique story. I’m certainly in uncharted territory.


Assignment No.5: I Can Count to 10

In this assignment I was required to count to 10 out of order and then splice the numbers together in numerical sequence. This was just to practice splicing audio in addition to proving that I can indeed still count to 10, 16 years after kindergarten.

Assignment No.4: Event

For this assignment I had to go to an event and cover it via photography. Naturally I chose a sporting event and not surprisingly I chose baseball—my favorite sport. I felt like I did a tremendous job with this assignment.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A Journalist Asking For Help

I’m looking for a story idea for my midterm. It needs to be newsworthy and have the capability of being told with pictures and audio, no print story.

I’m up for any kinds of suggestions. I have a few ideas in mind, but none of them are “Home-Runs” in my opinion and I’d like to get others perspective on what’s important in the world right now.

So is there anything out there that you guys think should be told, or want pursued to find out more information?

Jackie Robinson: 64th Anniversary of Breaking Color Barrier

Sixty-four years ago today, Jackie Robinson changed the game of baseball and the landscape of professional sports forever. On April 15, 1947, Robinson appeared in a game with Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers (now the  Los Angeles Dodgers), becoming the first African-American to appear in Major League game.

Robinson went on to have an illustrious career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.

Robinson’s legacy will never be forgotten. Here are some current Major Leaguers talking about the man who broke baseball’s color barrier:


Doing my daily browsing of the internet and come across this story from the Associated Press/Orlando Sentinel:

Assignment No.3: Portraits

Pam and Gene Leeth pose for a photo at their customary table inside Flyers Pizza & Subs, located in West Jefferson, Ohio. The Leeth’s are such frequent customers of the restaurant that the table is always reserved for them; a gesture not done for any other customers.









THAT’S ME. I started playing golf about four or five years ago and I absolutely love it. I can’t get enough of it.