What would you want to read in newpaper artical?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Thumper/inOkla., May 17, 2005.

  1. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    I have been asked to meet with a reporter for an interveiw in about 2 weeks, and I am a little lost as to what I should point out as good about this way of life, and >>what I should not say<< the reporter is coming to my farm with a photografter, and I am trying to get things prettied up,

    what would you like to read about in such an artical?

    I don't have a refridgerator, I freerange everything but the rabbits. the little garden is nice this year, the big one is slowly coming around.
    the solar electric stuff was something the reporter mentioned.

    I want to be a good example, not a bad one.....
    other than getting things as pretty as I can around here, I go a bit blank, I have been getting some feedback from homesteading friends close by, and thought to ask here too, this forum is full of really good ideas. I just do what I do and don't think much about the why or how, until someone ask's a question. I don't want to wait for the reporter to ask something that might make homesteading look bad.

    I want to be able to steer the conversation somewhat and not let the reporter run over me due to being unprepaired.
    I expect it will go better if I have an agenda to follow and can keep the tour moving along at a smooth clip. rather than just letting the reporter have full control.

    Ideas?
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT
    First of all, if you're not accustomed to "public speaking" or speaking on the record, practice. Talk to the sheep, tell it to the chickens, practice having things come out smoothly and clearly. Most mis-quotes are not intentional, but because the reporter genuinely thought that's what they heard!

    Secondly, expect some tough questions along the lines of "how could you eat the cute bunnies?" Don't get defensive and don't get up on your high horse. Just say "we raise some animals for food and are comfortable with that. Some people are not and either homestead as vegetarians or buy meat from farm's like mine." (or the local coop or whatever you want to promote). Do not allow this to get into a moral debate (you'll lose or come off sounding like a militant freak in the article). If you use a composting toilet or an outhouse make sure it is as clean as it can be. Pick up the socks off the floor... that sort of thing.

    What we've found is that news photographers have some seriously weird ideas about composing shots. If you think you're going to come off looking like an idiot, say something to the effect of "you know... I'm just vain enough to think that's not my best angle... let's get the goats in the picture..." to gain some control over how the image is created.

    When a reporter comes to the source they come with their own biases, so do a little "sleuthing" of your own. Go out with your hand extended and say "welcome to our homestead... have you had any experiences with small scale farming?" Now, you may well get the guy who has memories of grandma's farm and is pleased as punch to be there. But if you've got a guy who says "no..." then make sure his shoes don't get dirty and you don't hit him with too much reality.

    Like don't tell him the story of the first time you slaughtered chickens and what a mess it was (um.. we may have made this mistake and come across in the article like people with a stone alter in the back yard and some seriously weird personal practices!). Tell him the story about the day the goats got out and how all the kids helped round them up and how clever the kids were to think of using the car to store the goats in.

    No.. it really happened. Don't ask about the interior of the car.

    To keep control of the interview, keep asking questions... "have you been around goats? No? Well, they're great animals for small spaces because..."

    And if you flub something, just keep on going and don't look back. Chances are if you keep moving, they won't make much note of it.
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,266
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    .....................If it was me they were interviewing I would ask for him\them to email me a final copy of the article that I could peruse before final publication . Simply , because , I would like to beable to see if the info that "I" had provided was Quoted accurately and in Context with what I had wanted to say. fordy.. :)
     
  4. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,499
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    IA
    Thumper - very wise of you to prepare ahead of time! Well my first reaction would be to think before answering any questions... take time to pause and think of what you want to say.

    I think I'd avoid talking about much in the way of "preps"... I'd just focus more on the healthier way of living, raising your own food, etc. You've gotten a lot of good advice above.

    (Why no frig?)
     
  5. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

    Messages:
    283
    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Last summer a reporter stopped at our place asking if she could do a story.
    She had seen my sign up 'eggs for sale'. She said she didn't know anyone who sold fresh eggs out my way anymore.
    She came back a few days later and took some pictures of all the critters and it was nothing like an interview. We just talked. We collected eggs, she watched me milk the goats ect. When she left, she took some cold milk from Fridge and 2 dozen eggs. Nice Girl.
    The next 2 Sunday's she ran a 2 part story about me in the Farm and Ranch section of the paper and it turned out really nice.

    Just relax and be yourself, it will turn out great.
     
  6. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT
    No writer, no reputable paper, will do this. It is possible some small town paper might, but it is not considered "ethical" in journalism circles to send out advance copy for someone (other than the editor) to correct. This is why papers have "fact checkers" who, as we all know, can make mistakes. But "freedom of the press" and all that. I should add that this applies not only to your local paper and reporter, but also the freelance writers who write for national publications.

    These people may contact you because of your website (this happens to us several times a year) and "interview" you via email. Sometimes they'll send you a copy of what they've taken from that "interview," but more often than not your first view of what they've said is a complimentary copy of the publication.

    To say I've been "surprised" by what people have lifted out of those email exchanges would be to make a gross understatement. Or as the husband put it when the latest magazine arrived (a national glossy publication no less) "oh my... well... THAT won't make people very eager to drop in unannounced!"

    Oops. Don't try to be funny with these people... they may take you seriously!

    It will, in fact, probably put a very bad spin on the whole interview if you ask to review an article, and as someone in the business of securing free press (articles, mentions, etc) for my clients, I'd advise against ever doing this. What you've just said to the interviewer is that you don't trust him to do his job professionally and correctly. It is a HUGE insult. Massive. A real showstopper. It can get the article canned, or worse, result in a slant to the thing that will make you out to be some sort of threat to the standards of the community. Trust me, there is something on all of our farms that isn't up to some sort of code, and if you insult a reporter you've just given them permission to do a full investigation on how you dispose of waste, water quality issues, or whatever else they can find to spatter all over the front page. You've gone from being a cute human interest story to being Job One in Investigative Reporting.

    Not good. Do not insult the nice interviewer by implying he can't do his job. If you are misquoted (and you will be) and it doesn't materially effect your remarks, ignore it. If it is a gross misstatement, notify the paper and they will print a correction. But do not ask to review the article before publication.
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Messages:
    14,609
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction
    I have been a reporter, and chances are, the reporter in this case is into the homesteading thing (however tangentially) and probably had to argue with an editor that it would make a GREAT story! :D

    So don't make any assumptions about his or her background ...

    And thanks, MorrisonCorner, for pointing out what an insult it is when subjects ask for an advance copy.

    My advice would be just relax and enjoy the visit/interview. If you have certain points that are important to you -- like if you strongly believe in organic farming or water conservation, etc. -- think ahead of time about what you'd like to say and rehearse your remarks to some extent. And call the reporter's attention to the subject ... he or she may already have a theme or angle in mind for the article, or perhaps was assigned to come back with something cute for the lifestyles section, in which case a diatribe on environmental issues or the like won't really fit into the preconceived package.

    P.S. If you sell anything right off the farm, it certainly won't hurt you to mention it. ;)
     
  8. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,980
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan's thumb
    Okay, instead of asking for advance copy, how about, as he or she leaves, you hand him a typewritten paper that has your name and phone number, as well as pertinent info. Year the farm was started, how many of each animal you have, how many eggs you get a year, how many gallons of milk, etc. "I don't know if any of this is important,..." you tell him. And also let him know that he can call you if he has any more questions. This opens up the possibility that he will double check his facts before publishing.

    It is amazing how much some reporters will leave to their memory. I think Morrisons Corner gave you a wealth of info, something you'd pay dearly for if you had to pay for it.
     
  9. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,395
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    I don't know your reasons for living like you do, but for us, it's a slower pace even if sometimes itt's a lot of work (in my opinion commuting to your gymn to take a class that is the equivalent of that exercise is work).

    But I would mention the pluses that include living lightly on the earth, valuing natural resources, teaching children the science in every day life, appreciating what we have because we made/grew it.

    I'd mention the many hours of fun it was researching how to do these things adn the many interesting folks you met while learning and doing this.

    By all means I would ask the reporter to include a sidebar (type it up for them) mentioning your website and what you sell (if you do). In the sidebar tell where you sell your goods ("at X farmer's market on wednesdays in the church parking lot, at y farmers market on Sat at the hardware store parking lot,etc.etc..)
     
  10. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
  11. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Good story!!! Looks like they put a good spin on it. I'll have to have my mom save me today's paper. I had been following this thread but didn't realize that you were near us until I opened the Shawnee News Star link. We live in Newalla. My mom lives in Shawnee.
    Thanks for sharing the great story!
    Deedra
     
  12. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Good story. I didn't realize you were in the Shawnee area either. That's my old home town. I used to work for the Countywide News/Shawnee Sun years ago. I still have property just outside Meeker, though I'm in NC currently.

    Congrats on getting the lead story.

    J
     
  13. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,025
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kitsap Co, WA
    Great article! Congratulations!
     
  14. akmyilee

    akmyilee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina
    That was really neat.....
     
  15. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,898
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 9b
    I don't live near you, but I named a daughter Shawnee...does that count?! I think you covered all the bases...but you forgot to mention your extended family (all of us!)
     
  16. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    I did mention the web sites I use. and gave her a printed list of the sites too.

    If anyone would like to sent a thank you to the editor. Her email is april.wilkerson@news-star.com The addy is from the front page of the paper, so it is ok to give out publicly.
     
  17. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    just west of Houston Texas
    Excellent advertising for a simpler way of life. These are the types of articles that more people need to see. Yours is the diversity of the past and the future. Good job on your homestead and great job on allowing the article.
     
  18. Kathy in MD

    Kathy in MD Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,351
    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Location:
    Maryland
    Great article,thanks for sharing it
     
  19. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,033
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2002
    What a great article!! It was nice that the reporter was open-minded and didn't put a "these people are wierd" spin on things.

    I don't think you could have asked for a better article. Congratulations! :)
     
  20. T.C.

    T.C. Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    I enjoyed reading the article. Well done.