Tips for working for a complicated project

Today, I almost finished the new story about international students. Since last week, Clivia, my co-worker, and I have started to do research, find sources, and wait for the responses from both schools and the international center. This is our first time to work on such a complicated story. There are some tips for people who want to do some big projects or want to interview international students.

  1. Research before doing the interview: I know research is important for every piece of journalistic work. But if the topic is really complicated, research is extremely important and may determine the quality of the final work to a certain. So please make sure to do as much research as you can. For example, because we are doing a story about the new ICE policy, we may need to check the former policy about international students. Only when you know the background information, you could ask good questions.
  2. Don’t hesitate to contact people: Sometimes it is not easy for journalists to find sources. For us, we need to find sources from different countries. So, we found the international student organizations and sent emails to them. If you thought those groups of people might not respond and then you didn’t send emails, it was possible that you might miss a really important source. Based on my personal experience this time, I found the Indonesian student organization on the website with a list of contact info of organizations. However, this organization left neither email nor social handles. There is only a place for me to leave my info and wait for the response. I left my info but thought they might not respond. Surprisingly, this organization is the first one to give us a response. So, do not hesitate to contact people even though you think they won’t respond.
  3. Be patient: Some people are pretty busy. Therefore, if you want to contact them, sometimes you might need to wait for one hour or even three hours. So, please be patient and stay tuned. If they don’t call back or respond to your email, you can call them or email them again because some people might not check their voicemails or emails regularly.
  4. Please slow down your speech and ask right after you feel confused: The English of some international students is not good. If you wanted to interview them, please be sure to slow down your speech so that they could understand you. Also, as they are not native speakers, they might misuse English words even though they are proficient at spoken English. Therefore, if you are confused, you can ask them like: what do you mean? Is that xxx? So, when writing, you won’t feel confused.

During this week, I spent so much time on doing this story. I should have a life story done this weekend but this assignment had been put aside. But I hope I could do a life story of a person in the following weeks, as I really like to get to know the stories of different people.

Published by Lgao

NBC News Asia Desk Fellow Reporter

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