By Shannon Yang, Mosaic Staff Writer
Today I did my first ever Mosaic interview. I’m working on a story about a coding summer program, so I interviewed one of the co-founders by phone.
At first, I was very nervous and I didn’t know how to approach the interview. I had no idea what to ask. I was stalking his company and his summer program over the internet, and I knew more than normal people would because my brother and many of my friends are hackers in his circle, and I even know some people who had gone through the program.
But then I realized my knowledge was only skin deep. I knew what they were doing but I didn’t really understand why. Or why it was cool. Or anything deeper, really. So that’s what I set out to do. I came up with a list of a ton of questions.
My editor, Marcos, told me that I didn’t sound confident. I needed to kick ass and rock his socks over the phone and sound like I was more than just a 15-year-old. After all, this co-founder saw people my age kicking ass by making cool apps. Marcos also told me to not procrastinate, and to never fall into teenage wasteland. I was a journalist, not just a 15-year-old.
This guy, the co-founder, was a chill guy in his early twenties, and he understood many of the realities of youth today. He was easy to talked to – and he liked to talk. One of my challenges ended up being trying to retain all of his quotes.
But I’ll admit, they weren’t the best questions. I asked things like, “How much money did you guys make?” which he didn’t tell me. But he did tell me about the faults in the traditional educational system, and how he was frustrated and set out to change that. He told me the successes and the philosophy behind the program. And he invited me to follow up and to visit the site in Sunnyvale next week.
Today I learned how to put my insecurities aside and be more aggressive. And even though some people don’t know what journalism is (one of my friends asked me today), it can be pretty damn powerful.