We met for sushi and a brief chat before heading over to the Postmedia headquarters on O’Connor. It’s an intimidating environment (giant TV screens showing multiple channels, busy people everywhere, and I kept expecting to see Jeff Daniels from The Newsroom burst in and start yelling at everyone), but Mr. O’Neil was a very nice guy who did what he could to put me at ease.
Taking part in an interview from the other end of the microphone has given me a whole new respect for the politicians, spokespeople and others who do this on a daily basis. It’s tough. You have to strike a balance between offering articulate, concise, but memorable soundbites and fully answering their questions, and at the same time ensuring that you get your own message across, too. And you only have a few seconds in which to craft these answers.
You need to trust that the reporter isn’t out to get you, or else you can’t focus on anything but playing defence. Hopefully, in conducting interviews myself, I earned that trust. During the interviews for the Robinson biography, I was more nervous than the interviewees were. Although I asked some pretty tough questions, that slight nervousness probably forced me to adopt a gentler tone. Maybe next time I won’t be as gentle, but if that’s the case, I hope I remember this experience and the trust that needs to exist between an interviewer and interviewee.
So, how did it go? I’m not totally sure. It’s all a bit of a blur. I think it went well. I’ll find out on Saturday!