REFLECTION: Filling the notebook at FRI

I had too much in my notebook today. I didn’t have enough in my notebook today. At any given moment on the first day of the Field Reporting Institute, that’s what I was thinking.

We had so much thrown at us. I honestly picked up at least 10 things from each site that I wanted to look into. Not all of them are sure-fire great story ideas, but some could be. Hank Dorst and Peter Becker seemed to be offering up story ideas every time they opened their mouths.

Sometimes I’d think I was trying to do too much, take too many notes and miss important observations in the process. Other times, I’d think I missed somethingand look at my notes and see a pitiful abstraction of the rich experiences we saw today. I think that’s the challenge of field reporting. The reward is realizing you captured the experience.

— Tony Schick, Edited by Steven Rich

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One response to “REFLECTION: Filling the notebook at FRI

  1. I often feel like this. Don’t forget, you can go back to sources for clarification. The great thing is email and other new age communication tools make this much easier to check a fact or ask for another number. However, you don’t always have the luxury of going back to the place to observe or soak in more of the atmosphere. One tool I use to help me remember is a little flip video camera. After the interview, I will record a bit of the surroundings and often ask the person I’m interviewing for a two to five minute summary of the high points of our discussion. I put this video into my computer files to help retain the importance of our conversation to back up my notes and my memory.

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