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What would you ask?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have an interview in a little over an hour with two teenagers, a brother and sister, whose home and schools in New Orleans were destroyed by the hurricane. Now they're staying with a local family and are going to school here. Their dad said the kids are more than willing to talk but they've been pretty traumatized by everything, so I really want to be sensitive to that.

If you were interviewing these kids, what would you want to know?
post #2 of 15
Perhaps you could ask them to tell you their experience in this tragedy, from the beginning up until now. Each individual has their own unique, heartbreaking story, and it's therapeutic for them to be able to share how the events have unfolded in their own lives to a sympathetic listener.
post #3 of 15
What is the purpose of the interview? What are you trying to learn about the kids? Where they would fit in best at the school?
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom
What is the purpose of the interview? What are you trying to learn about the kids? Where they would fit in best at the school?
Sorry, I should have been more clear. It's for a newspaper article. We're trying to do some stories that have a local connection to the area impacted by the hurricane. Many of the schools here are accepting students from Lousisana, etc.. and we thought it would be interesting to talk to the kids about their experiences.
post #5 of 15
Wow - it's tough to ask questions while remaining sensitive to their feeling, huh?

If I were reading your article, I would want to know where they lived, what condition is their house in now, where they were during the hurricane, their impressions of Ohio, etc.

Stephanie's suggestion is wonderful, but I don't know if these kids will feel like opening up.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom
Wow - it's tough to ask questions while remaining sensitive to their feeling, huh?

If I were reading your article, I would want to know where they lived, what condition is their house in now, where they were during the hurricane, their impressions of Ohio, etc.

Stephanie's suggestion is wonderful, but I don't know if these kids will feel like opening up.
This has got me thinking, maybe I should suggest we do a face-to-face interview, rather than doing it over the phone. They might feel more comfortable opening up that way and it would give me a better sense of what they're going through.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilcon
This has got me thinking, maybe I should suggest we do a face-to-face interview, rather than doing it over the phone. They might feel more comfortable opening up that way and give me a better sense of what their going through.
I have to agree with you there!
post #8 of 15
Be sure to start with basic questions about who they are, where they are from, etc. It will help them feel more relaxed before you get into talking about what happened recently.

Good luck!
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilcon
This has got me thinking, maybe I should suggest we do a face-to-face interview, rather than doing it over the phone. They might feel more comfortable opening up that way and it would give me a better sense of what they're going through.

Yes, I think face to face would be a bit better, especially if they are feeling traumatized.
post #10 of 15
I think face-to-face and I also think that instead of asking them about their experience, I would focus more on how they are feeling about being in their new town and new schools. It might help the community to understand and make the kids more relaxed. If they want to talk about their NO experience, I am certain that they will open up without much asking if they are ready to talk about it .
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just spoke with the dad and he agreed a face-to-face interview would be better, so we rescheduled it for tomorrow. Thanks for the input!
post #12 of 15
I would be wanting to know what some of the good things they have seen people doing to help others in their community.
post #13 of 15
I also think you should ask them about their expectations in this new place. What are they looking forward to, do they have plans, do they have special interests. And ask them what they want story they want to tell - is there something really important they want to say that you haven't asked about.

It would be great for your readers to put a more "human" face on the disaster, and see individuals in those astounding numbers of people who are displaced.
post #14 of 15
I think questioning them on what they are looking for in the future rather than dwelling on what had happened to them. Maybe you could ask them if they have contacted their friends and neighors how they are??
post #15 of 15
I bet they are expecting to be asked about their NO experience. But if you really want to make it a community connection, try focusing on the here and now. Sure, there can be some background, but everyone knows what happened in NO, and everyone knows how tragic it is. I would be much more interested to read about how they are moving forward, what their experiences since getting to Ohio have been, and even how they see their future.
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