One of the things Jim Fisher, a writing teacher at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, taught me is to arrive at an interview at least five minutes early. The person being interviewed is probably nervous and there’s no need to make him or her more nervous by arriving just on time or late.
And so I do make sure I’m there early. But sometimes there’s no way to make someone trust me as a journalist. They may have been burned or misquoted and despite my assurances that I accuracy check all my articles, i.e. let a source review for accuracy the entire article before submitting to my editor, some people still are nervous.
That was the case with Travis Huff of Pure Audio when I interviewed him for this article, Creating sounds of something great, published in the Columbia Business Times on August 19, 2011, reprinted from Columbia Home’s August/September 2011 issue.
After the initial interview and then a change in focus from the editor, Travis asked if I could interview him by email. No problem, I thought, except for follow-up questions. Journalists know that the follow-up question can be the most important one of an interview. There’s no way to know everything we need to know before we arrive, so when a source says something interesting, it is crucial to follow up with a question.
What followed were several days of emails. But then I learned another downside of email interviews. Travis’s answers were great. But they were very formal. We all write in a more formal tone than we talk.
So how to bring a business story to life? Ask the people who are affected — Pure Audio’s customers.
The result is an article that highlights what Pure Audio really does. Sure, Huff explained that the company installs digital sound and video systems for homes and offices. But John Schuppan and others explained what Pure Audio really does — help people enjoy the digital sound and video systems in their homes.
Now that’s something worth writing about.
Here’s a summary of the article:
August 19, 2011, Creating sounds of something great, Columbia Business Times. Columbia firm Pure Audio & Video Specialty installs digital media systems in new and older homes, simplifying the music/video system. Yes, you can have just one remote for the whole house, and no the television does not have to be the focus of a room. A reprint from Columbia Home, August/September 2011 issue.
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