First Interview – Journalism Jolt

When I first started school at Kennesaw State University, my [indefinite] plan was to become a journalist. At the time, I didn’t know what type of journalist, nor how I would fulfill this aspiration. With no direction or a working portfolio of my work, I drifted from this original ambition and chose to pursue a different degree.

However, this project has once again sparked my interest in journalism. Since I have always loved writing, I knew that would be one of my favorite parts about this project. But now, as I delve deeper into the project and allow myself to get wrapped up in this case, I have an even greater love for the magnitude of journalism. Yes, journalism is writing. But more importantly, it is reporting. It is getting the deeper story through interviews, interactions and observations, and it is getting to know the people involved on a personal level.

These all-important aspects of journalism were all put into perspective for me today – Today, I had my first official interview. Since I have never been in the shoes of the journalist asking the questions and taking the notes, I was undeniably a little nervous. However, as a team, we had become familiar with the case and had come up with some great questions for Steve Reba. After reading through the documents, we were not only prepared, but we were extremely motivated, as we gradually realized how crucial this project could be to this youth’s life.

At the Emory Clinic Valet Parking
At the Emory Law Clinic (L. to R.) Claire Bohrer, Ann Ondieki, Fred Lewis, Kevin Enners

Since our interview was scheduled for 12PM and we wanted to be sure we had enough time to make it there (Atlanta traffic is unpredictable), we left our group meeting a little early at around 10AM. With Fred as driver, Kevin riding shotgun, and Ann and I riding as back-seat passengers, we jumped in the van and were on our way to the Barton Clinic at Emory Law to interview Steve Reba.
The drive was shorter than we thought and valet parking treated us well, and we were walking up to the Clinic right at 11:30 AM. It’s a good thing we got there early though, because we used all of our “extra” time to prepare the recording devices in the Conference Room at the Clinic.
The interview went great – Steve, having worked on the case for about 5 years now, is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about every aspect of it and was willing to answer all of our questions (and we had A LOT of questions).

After about an hour-long interview, we said our thank-yous and good-byes and left with the hopes of Steve being able to initiate a meeting with the actual youth in the current prison where he currently resides.

All of this being said – I absolutely love every aspect of this project. From the research of the case and contacting witnesses, to managing the communication with my wonderful team and writing/reporting the actual story. This project has taken over my life in a way I never imaged – every day, I am even more eager to bring more attention to this so that we can shine a light on its injustices and bring about a change – not only in the youth’s life, but to the whole system and other youths’ lives who could stumble down the same path.

Although I turned away from journalism my freshman year, this clearly does not mean that there is no chance of me changing course from my current degree and trying my hand at journalism in the near feature. In fact, I feel like I am already on that path. And I’m loving every second of it.