I’ve now received recordings of my beastly questions from four generous friends (more background on this here), and I think that may be all I’m going to get.
It’s been interesting to note the effect it had on them, too.
- “I must say I felt rather mean as I was doing that. And it’s an interesting feeling… to be thanked for being horrible ;-)”
- “You are hard on yourself with the questions – and they are often closed questions (in theory demanding yes or no answers) I note!”
- “Feel like such a cow having said all those mean things.”
“Interesting”? Yes, because as a journalist I know how painful it can be to ask unkind questions, AND I know how easily we can become hardened against that, and forget the impact our questions have on both sides of the reporter’s notebook/microphone/camera. So hearing this from non-journalists is – yup, interesting.
When the edited audio is ready, I will film myself listening to it and you will be able to watch its effect on me.
Postscript. January 2023
I just found this, here in the archive, while looking for something else.
I thought it might be interesting to add a bit of context. Soon after sharing this, wherever I did share it, I received a kindly message from a friend – a journalist, as it happens, with whom I worked when I was just starting out, on a trade publication. He said: don’t do it. You’re so hard on yourself, he said. And he pointed out various other places where he had seen me being hard on myself.
I think I replied that it was fine, I knew what I was doing (though more politely).
Subsequently, I know that he was right. It wasn’t a good idea. It was a very bad idea.