Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Ed Biglin

To get the best story in journalism, go to the people with the most information. That's exactly what Team Ice-T did for our video project on GaelPrint.

On Tuesday afternoon I interviewed Saint Mary's College's Chief Technology Officer, Ed Biglin about the GaelPrint system. We chatted in his office about how the program came about, how much it costs, and the future of GaelPrint.

I conducted the interview and operated the technology and it was a bit of a challenge to perform both tasks as best I could. I had a hard time keeping Ed in frame, looking at the camera screen, listening to his answers, thinking ahead to my next question, and maintaining eye contact and making a connection with my interview subject.

What helped the process was preperation. I tested using the camera so I was comfortable with its controls. I had checked the audio levels before we began shooting so I wouldn't need to adjust on the fly. I created a long list of possible questions for Ed so I wouldn't have to think much about them during the interview.

The question writing process was helped by thinking about what I envisioned Ed saying in the finished video. In my mind's eye I saw him sitting at desk or in front of a row of computers talking authoritatively about what GaelPrint is, how it came about, and what its benefits are. This would be contrasted with more hands-on experience coming from students who use GaelPrint and, perhaps, a CaTS staff member. Knowing what I hoped would be in the final product helped me create and phrase questions.

It's a fine line to walk between being a fair, balanced documentarian and an interesting storyteller. Hopefully we did a good job and remained ethical.

Here's an excerpt from the interview. Ed explains the general workings of GaelPrint:

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