Interviews and interviewing comes from many angles at FHC


Walking through the halls of FHC, it is not uncommon to see students having conversations that seem more purposeful than about the latest Taylor Swift songs or the loudest cars in the student parking lot. These conversations being done over transcribing phones or dead center of a camera frame are interviews revolving around a multitude of topics, school related or not. To the students who have not yet had the opportunity or pleasure to participate in interviews, this is the insider’s slice of interviewing as a whole, for anything from semi-professional to inexperienced curiosity.

FHC provides a handful of classes that include interviewing, such as the FX class which has a broadcast that edits short stories like a five-minute news show as well as live commentary on school-wide events, and The Central Trend, where one reads this story, is a journalism site that tells stories that also revolve around school but also trends and personal experiences. Both classes have a respective way of recording student quotes and solidifying them in the high school’s history and so on. Junior Hannah Levering and sophomore Hailey Beels are part of the FX class and have varying opinions on the subject. 

“We use interviews for [FX] stories,” Hannah said. “We have to think of a story topic that is relevant to the school, and we’ll get students, teachers, and any others who are involved with the topic. These people are from different grades and different genders, so there is a variety of answers.”

FX interviewers are armed with professional cameras, microphones, and sometimes scripted questions. These are usually done with little to no preparation by finding students, pulling them from class, and bringing them before a camera. 

Despite the way this sounds, teachers can be assured that these interviews take little time as they are never meant to take more than a few moments to finish; if the setting allows, despite lively hallways, that is the case. 

“Some teachers just hate it when we interrupt class,” Hailey said. “And it is not like we try to. Usually, we try not to find classes that look like busy work is in the process. But sometimes we have to, so it gets really difficult.”

Students going into FX interviews should know the process will be less demanding than TCT ones. The topics are almost always scripted, and all one has to do is restate the question if prompted and add as much detail as one can. Even man-on-the-street interviews are quickly answered and posed to get raw information with little time spent.

“So there is a couple of interview types,” Hannah said. “One type is man-on-the-street, where we will find random people walking in the halls or in random classes, and we ask them questions so the answers will not be rehearsed but on the spot. Then there are purposeful interviews, so we get people ahead of time and figure out why they are important to this topic.”

An ideal interview is with someone who talks nice and at a moderate pace. This is so that it fills up space in the editing time. [It’s also helpful when they] tell me in full detail and restate the question.

— Hailey Beels

As for the purposeful ones, all FX interviewers ask for depth and detail, for a student not to give black-and-white or two-word answers but ones that are filled with energy and fun tidbits that few other students would get to hear. These clips are shown to the entire student body, so the more interesting, the better people will pay attention.

“An ideal interview,” Hailey said, “is with someone who talks nice and at a moderate pace. This is so that it fills up space in the editing time. [It’s also helpful when they] tell me in full detail and restate the question.”

Moving on from the FX side of things, the TCT tends to do interviews differently. At the start of a school year, a list is compiled of all seniors who have no profile, a story centered on a certain student. The collective goal is to tell all of their stories before they graduate. This, however, does not mean underclassmen or juniors won’t have a shot. If one has a life to tell, then there’s a good chance for them to get contacted, sometimes with a feature in mind instead of a profile. 

Every writer has a different way of finding people, and junior Sydney Race has her own way of finding willing people who are happy to weave a tale of memories and adventures. 

“I like to look around at other people’s Instagram accounts,” Sydney said, “and I have a good internal gauge [to determine] whether or not somebody may give good quotes or would be the right pick for an interview. I resort to my own means of finding someone, like hallway conversations or observations of people. I then hold onto that for later ideas that can be used for a specific topic. 

Emails are ninety-nine times more likely to start the long planning process. This usually sets how an interview will go, whether it blooms like flowers in the sun into a great wonder piece or go up in flames because a student waited three days to finally respond, giving the journalist one to two days to write the story. 

The sixth hour is an ample time frame, as work also tends to coincide with the later minutes of the period. These interviews tend to have a loose frame of ten questions that the interviewer builds onto, furthering the conversation into the deeper parts it needs to be cohesive. 

Overall, with the amount of planning spanning about a week or so, journalists work with transcribing apps on their phones, or voice memos to paper. Junior Arpita Das looks at interviews as handfuls but very worthwhile in the long term. 

“[Interviewing] is a nice way to learn about the school and really get the scoop on what’s going on within the school from a perspective that not as many other people can see,” Arpita said. “Although [interview stories] take a lot of time and effort to plan in advanced, I think they are a good way to get more information on the school as a whole.”

Features and profiles are great ways for perspective-building on individuals or topics floating around FHC. Packed full of words and snapshots of opinions, the high school can collectively learn and agree on things together through the comment section or with one another. 

Students do not also have to break a sweat on the taxing process. The journalists are experienced and know what they need to make the pathway a bit easier to travel. These people are talented and knowledgeable on how to make the student feel comfortable. In fact, most times, the interviewer can also be nervous or share feelings of unreal levels of awkwardness. 

“I’ve gotten to a point where I’m so natural with the way I talk to people,” Sydney said, “because I go into an interview wanting a specific thing, and I’m not going to leave the interview until I have that thing. An [detailed] explanation would be very helpful and make [writing] ten times better, but you can’t always have people like that.” 

As of now, TCT has done this for years and speaking from the past, there is one good way to create a profile into what it deserves to be, as well as advice that one can take while arriving to an interview. 

[During interviews] I would say to just be open, be clear and concise, be yourself, and be passionate. I mean, as corny as it might sound it’s important to dive deep into yourself and ask is this important to me? How has it shaped my life as a whole?

— Arpita Das

“Going in with an open mind is the best way to do an interview,” Sydney said. “You can’t be nervous to do an interview; then it is really hard to do an interview. If you do it at a terrible time, you’re not going to look forward to it or be excited about it. It’s your one opportunity for a profile or maybe a feature. You should not let that go to waste because you are so scared to talk to the person interviewing you.”

The TCT staff will be glad to help anyone feel comfortable and offer up many ways to get a conversation going and to keep it going with fluidity.

“[During interviews], I would say to just be open,” Arpita said. “Be clear and concise, be yourself, and be passionate. I mean, as corny as it might sound, it’s important to dive deep into yourself and ask, ‘Is this important to me? How has it shaped my life as a whole?'”

Deep, detailed, concise, confident, and passionate answers are what allow an interview to thrive and grow into a conversation with sometimes complete strangers. No matter what class conducts the interviews, whether it be FX, TCT, the yearbook, or FHC Sports Report, they are all meant with good intent. All they need is a bit of spunk or fizz to truly amplify the students’ voice, individually or as a whole body.

“If you are nervous, [know that] there is nothing to be nervous about,” Sydney said. “You are not going to give a wrong answer; that’s not it at all. It is not a test. It’s not a quiz. People are going to read this but not judge you for it. I’ve read hundreds of interview stories, and there has not been a single one where I’m like, ‘that person sounds off or wrong.’”