Student Writer Petrana recounts her experience in preparing and interviewing Channel 4 news sensation Jon Snow.
How to interview a media star
It felt like I was dreaming when my programme leader Professor Sophie Knowles told me that, alongside Professor Kurt Barling, I could take part in interviewing Jon Snow when he came to speak to Middlesex students on February 27th.
Professor Barling gave me some useful tips about interviewing. He described it as being like jazz - sometimes you depart from your planned track and come back to the main points later - rather than like a classical composition or opera, where everything must be strictly to time.
It was a big responsibility to take on this event, on which I was a producer and interviewer. I told myself that this is my time to prove what I have learned. I prepared myself carefully, using the journalistic skills I've acquired. I had researched Jon Snow by watching his reports, building a list of the topics he's interested in, and trying to work out his journalistic strategy. I scoured his recent social media posts to make it more current.
I had adrenaline coursing around my body before the event from excitement and nervousness - but when you trust yourself and come on to the stage, all of that nerviness disappears. During the hour I was on stage, I felt like this is what I wanted to do with my life. It is hard to describe that sense of fulfilment and satisfaction, like this is the role I'd been destined for.
My questions covered Snow's career, current affairs, the importance of ethics to the practice of journalism, future technologies and finally asking him what advice he would give aspiring young journalists. As an interviewer, you have to keep your head and body facing a certain direction. I reminded myself - Petrana, you must keep listening and follow up the answers. I understood the topic thoroughly so if we drifted from the line of questioning I could easily find my way back.
Snow said that “we keep learning every day of our lives", and that while we're still in formal education is a good time to make mistakes.
My personal philosophy is always to grab whatever opportunities come my way - when I get an opportunity, I never say no. To achieve our dreams as journalists, we must be confident enough to show off our knowledge and skills. I'm so grateful to my lecturers at Middlesex for setting me up on this path.