On October 5th, 2014, our guest speaker, Felicity Wang, gave Voice K a presentation about journalism.
Felicity has been a journalist for three years. Although she works for a Chinese newspaper, she does most of her interviews in English.
“It is always useful to know more than one language, especially as a reporter. You never know who you will interview, and the more languages you know, the more different cultures you can communicate with, especially in Canada ─ a multicultural country,” Felicity said.
Felicity started Journalism in her third year of university. She contacted her local newspaper for an internship and landed a part-time job. After graduating, she was given the choice of staying in Toronto or going to Vancouver. Felicity decided to move to Vancouver so she could experience and learn new things.
Felicity has interviewed people with different statuses and backgrounds. Whether it is Prime Minister Steven Harper or homeless people, Felicity always treats every interview seriously. Before you interview someone, you need to know who they are. “You really have to be prepared mentally and physically for interviews, or else they just won’t go right. Even if you are young, you should still be seen as a professional,” she said.
Interviewing is difficult to do, and Felicity explained the hard part of her job. “I find politicians the hardest to encounter. They have all the answers, but they won’t give it to you until they trust you,” said Felicity. “What do you do? You just keep interviewing them, and keep challenging them. This way, there is a higher chance they will give you an answer.”
Felicity warned young journalists about maintaining clean digital footprints because it directly affects their reputation and credibility. She told us that Lan Yang and Ellen DeGeneres were her role models, as they showed her the importance of perseverance and dedication.
Besides good interview skills, good writing is also a key to the success of your article. Therefore, I asked, “How do you improve writing articles?” Felicity replied that she found it very challenging, and that she would usually try to look up to people with higher standards. “I would find a person to look up to. Once I get to that level of writing, I would find more and more people to learn from. If you just be honest and respectful to your mentors, I think they will give you your answer.”
Felicity also said that one of the most important parts of an interview is not having preconceived opinions. They confuse others, and often bring a bias with them.
“When in doubt, cut it out,” said Felicity. It means to confirm something before you give it certainty. You also have to balance your article, or your report will lack one side. She gave us an example: “When there is a car incident, you interview the police, but also the accused. This way, you won’t be biased, when you have the thoughts of both characters in the story.” I thought this was a good point.
“You need strong headlines to attract people to read the articles. To create a headline, you can take a quote from the story, and add it to your headlines. “Sometimes, an inspirational quote can also give them a tingling sense,” Felicity said.
After obtaining all these great insights from Felicity, I felt better and learned to handle interviews in the right way. Felicity upgraded my confidence with all the skills I learned from her. With training and more practice, we can skillfully finish more articles before the deadline.