Saturday, August 6, 2011

Approaching strangers for information

By Jessica Khaimova (Brooklyn, NY)

At last week’s concert in Palmer Square, the Princeton summer journalists had to interview spectators of the concert — in other words, strangers. This allowed us to see life through a journalist’s eyes since a lot of reporting involves approaching strangers on the street. I found out that being bilingual helps.

I approached a family at the concert and heard them speaking Russian. Coming from a Russian-speaking family, I knew how to communicate with them and I ended up interviewing them in Russian. I found out that they were from my hometown, Brooklyn, NY, and that they loved coming to Princeton. This taught me that journalism can make use of any skill a person has.

On another day, my newspaper group noticed that there was a car accident on Witherspoon Street. We took our notepads out and interviewed fire chiefs and bystanders. Yesterday, we called the Captain of the Princeton police department in order to learn what happened to the man who crashed into the parking lot. It made me feel like a real journalist one again since I was interviewing a person who I had never met before.

Learning to approach people I don't know in the pursuit of the truth has opened my eyes to the real world has made me more aware of my surroundings. As the editor-in-chief of my school paper, I’m going to use the skills I learned at SJP. SJP also introduced me to some of the most diligent and amazing people that I have ever met — and that makes the program even better! I will never forget all of the fun we had and all of the laughs we shared, and I especially won’t forget all of the knowledge I gained about journalism.

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