There are similarities and differences between being a reporter at a community newspaper and being an interviewer at a community radio station.
I’ve had the experience of doing both over the last two years, having worked at the Prince George Free Press until it folded in May 2015, then working at CFIS, the community radio station since a few months later.
Both places use computers a lot more than they would have in the past, and I’ve had to learn a number of computer programs since I started at CFIS. I now know how to drop a pre-precorded interview into the middle of a show if needed, but I’m not sure I could redesign a front page in 10 minutes like I used to, I just haven’t used the newspaper programs as much as I used to.
I have a feeling I would still be able to remember how to do them, given a few minutes to reacquaint myself with the procedures, but don’t throw me in at the deep end right now.
One of the areas that has turned out remarkably similar is the actual interviewing. I find myself talking to people at CFIS who I had previously interviewed with the Free Press. It makes it easier on me, since I already know them, and I hope they find the same.
There are a couple of big differences, though, between the two forms of interview. First, I no longer worry as much about the spelling of the person’s name. I still like to get it right for our records, but for the interview itself, I’m more concerned with a phonetic spelling, so I can pronounce it correctly on air. In newspapers, it was the other way around: Spelling was more important.
The other big difference was one I picked up on very quickly. At the Free Press, the interview was just the beginning. I then had to go back to the office, write the story, make sure any photos were ready to go, lay the story onto the page, make sure it fit, proofread it, and think of a headline.
At CFIS, when the interview is over, that’s it. Say goodbye and move on to the next one. No stories to write, no deadlines to meet.
If you want to see how we make it work at CFIS, drop by on Saturday between 9 and 3. We’re having our annual Christmas Eve Open House at the studio, right above the gift shop at 2880 15th Avenue. If you come before 11, you’ll probably have to use the door right by the driveway at the back of the building, the one with the CFIS sign on it.
After 11, the gift shop will be open, and you can come in that way and up the stairs.
Hope to see you there.