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Listening Post Diary Hints

  You've chosen where you want to do your Listening Post.

  So, what do you do now?

  First, think about what you're doing. You are about to enter a new place, a place with which you're not familiar. You may even be a little nervous.

  It might help to think about what you would do if you were a kid starting a new school.

  You might first want to find out a little bit about your new environment. So in this context, perhaps you want to do a little research on the spot you're heading before you go there.

  Can you get information on the neighborhood? The place itself? Does it have a web page? Has it been in the news?

  Taking the analogy further, what would you do after you got to your new


  I guess you'd try to make friends. You'd introduce yourself to folks. You'd ask them about themselves. You'd find out their lives are like, what they do, what interests them, what makes them happy, what makes them sad.

  You need to do exactly the same sorts of things when you create a "Listening


  And that's what you need to put in your diaries, plus more.

  I want to know about the place you're going. Who did you talk to? What are their phone numbers? What did you think and feel about the experience and what are your reactions?

  What questions to ask? Anything. For some ideas, you can go the Story Corps site. Story Corps is a program aimed at recording the memories of just plain folks. They have a nifty "question generator" at http://www.storycorps.net/participate/

  And, if you haven't already, read (or re-read) the material in the "Listening Post"  section of the class web site.

  Finally, remember the points of the exercise:


1) To get you out of your comfort zone into a place where you can learn

about an unfamiliar ethnicity, religions, group or culture.


2) To help you learn how to interview, how to talk to folks.


3) To teach you a technique you can use in the real world -- ways to find

spots where you'll find "real people" whom you can talk with when you're

working on any kind of story at all.




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