By Jason Fuller
This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of conducting an on-air interview with two New Mexico Public Allies members, Guida Leicester and Lacey Nagar. Before the interview, I found myself rather calm, however, in the midst of the interview I became nervous. Having been on air only a few times was exciting, but conducting interviews with individuals who are not familiar with radio, let alone radio interviews, was a challenge. In the pre-interview, I was able to gain more general and detailed info on Disability Awareness Day.
In retrospect, I wish I could have been more open with our guests while preparing for the interview so that we would have greater rapport. I also wish that I could ask the two ladies about their daily trials and tribulations. I think this level of disclosure can be difficult, but being able to ask that question makes for putting a face to an issue. As the interview began, I felt that I got off to a rocky start due to my setup. I began asking questions from my rough draft side of the paper, but I managed to recover and that got all of the nerves out of the way. From now on, I will take better precautions while interviewing on-air by organizing questions and discarding useless paper.
The interview flowed smoothly from this point. I felt as though I was having a conversation that just happened to take place in a radio station. This interview was a bit different than others I had done, because it was specifically to promote an event. With help from Melissa, I was able to ask questions that allowed our guests to backtrack if they failed to mention vital information. Some keys to establishing a great relationship for an on-air interview are eye contact and emphasis on the topic/theme.
Toward the close of the interview, I asked both our guests to explain why they got involved as advocates for those with a disability and why they are so passionate. This was critical because although our immediate staff knew of the disabilities that Guida & Lacey both had, our listeners did not. This helps to establish credibility, because day to day, they understand and live the struggle. If not for these questions, our audience could have assumed that both Guida & Lacey were simply two ladies passionate about the welfare of those with a disability. They now know that the passion comes from the experience of being marginalized.
The responses were very touching, and inspired everyone in the room to fight for disability rights. Guida and Lacey have both obtained post-graduate degrees; this shows that people with disabilities can attain high accolades regardless of their circumstance. Lacey’s story specifically stuck out to me because of her age and how she connected both her education to her personal experiences. Obtaining her Masters in Public Policy allowed her to look into what mandates organizations and companies must comply with in order to be access friendly.
This was a powerful segment, and provided a platform for those who have been silenced due to their physical disabilities. Moreover, having Generation Justice staff that have similar struggles puts a face to the marginalized. Hearing stories of those who endure much, and accomplish that much more, keeps my journalistic fire burning.