Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Interviewing Skills

So I'm going over the interview I had with climate scientists Judith Lean, who spoke at the APS 2010 Meeting on surface temperature responses to anthropogenic gases AND other factors.  Her point was that a) natural processees affect climate too, even variations in solar irradiance, yet b) anthropogenic gases are still the only explanation for the background rise in temperatures.  She didn't use models, so much as data from the past 30 years (quoth Shakespeare: Using Past as Prologue) where the signal from say, an El Nino can be teased out, cooling from volcanoes can be teased out, even solar variations can be teased out, and the upward trend remains.

It was my first attempt at a journalistic interview, and I think it went amazingly well.  I had a very personable, intelligent, and passionate subject, who loved talking to me and talking about her work, and it helped that we had ties to Australia in common.   There's a heck of a lot of great science and science-for-the-public material to glean.  I would post the clip if I could, though it's more than half an hour long.

I did make a few interviewer mistakes.  Like saying "yeah" a lot as she went on, instead of just letting her talk.  Rather than asking questions that were leading, which I really tried not to do, I think I might have left some of them too open-ended, and then thrown my own thoughts in with hers as a matter of having a conversation, rather than conducting an interview.  I spoke too fast, though I must admit when I listen to myself I realize that I do speak rather intelligently. 

I have a southern accent, and I stumble over myself sometimes.

But still, pretty good.  It was a few days before I could work myself up to listen to myself again, which is something a journalist needs to get over very quickly.

So I'll be trying to finish that APS article up soon. 

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