J500 Media and the Environment


Whew, not another helping of political propaganda by hilarywright
October 31, 2008, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics, Society + Media | Tags: , ,

From my last posting, it’s pretty clear that I have somewhat of an aversion to politics, so you can imagine my excitement about interviewing a politician. But the good news is that is wasn’t as scary or painful as I imagined. In fact, it wasn’t bad at all.

 

Terry Happer Scheier, From www.opkansas.org

Terry Happer Scheier, from http://www.opkansas.org

 

I interviewed Overland Park City Councilmember Terry Happer Scheier, who currently chairs the community development committee, which deals with issues such as pollution and energy conservation. Our interaction was friendly and open, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that she managed to communicate in a manner that seemed real. In other words, I never felt like she was feeding me political propaganda.

When my group began this project, we hoped to take our findings and hone in on what matters to politicians in Kansas. To get a broad scope, we interviewed policymakers on the city, county, and state level, and although they had their differences, by taking a closer look, we were able to find their commonalities.

 What was most interesting to me about the interview was how I was able to draw bigger conclusions from the small unrelated verbal comments and nonverbal communication throughout the interview. Interestingly enough, the most valuable information I received was not necessarily the kind of information I hoped to gain when I went into the interview. The one-on-one, in-person interaction allowed me to get a better grasp of the interworking of city government and how it ties to the big picture. I don’t think I would have been able to delve as deep or build this rapport as well over the phone or by e-mail.

Overall, I found the interview portion to be very beneficial to our final project.  I think the information we gathered helped us reach our initial goals for the interviews, and it is already proving to shed a great amount of light on how we should move forward on our project.

 

-Hilary Wright

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4 Comments so far
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Well, she is a politician after all. Her job description requires her to be appear likeable and to communicate and connect with people, so no surprise there. On the other hand, I can not agree more with the value of understanding government’s inner working. Lebbeus Woods once said “design is a political act”. Meaning that the act of design necessarily means that one is suggesting something better than currently exists. One could say the same about the debate we have had as part of the class. In spite of our aversion to politics (or maybe just politicians) I would say that discussions about the environment are an inherently a political act.

Comment by alejandrooj840

Hilary – What is the biggest thing you learned during the field work? Not necessarily about the environment and clean energy, but helpful ideas for interviewing and getting in contact with elected officials. Since not everyone is in marketing or journalism in the class, I thought it might be helpful if you could talk about what worked for you or didn’t work. What did you think was the most challenging part?

Comment by brookec08

Yes, I agree that her job description requires her to appear friendly, but that goes for all politicians, and I do not find most politicians likeable. I find them fake.

Brooke, I was actually surprised that it wasn’t that difficult to get in contact with a politician. I e-mailed and followed up with a phone call. The e-mail alone wouldn’t have done the trick though. For me, the most challenging part was being confident enough to be outside my comfort zone.

Comment by hilarywright

All,
Please be clear this is a PUBLIC blog. Your information can be read by everyone, including your interview subjects. Hilary,
I am glad it was a good interview. Most people are incredibly decent when you take time to speak with them.
Simran

Comment by j500




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