The process of storytelling starts with determining what stories need to be told. At The ReMarker, we involve as many different voices as possible during our pitch days, and we gather information from beats around campus. But from there, we look past our school, and we engage the issues that are developing in the world.
The ReMarker has always been built around issue-driven stories, and at the heart of these stories is expertise. I carefully select my interview sources, so I share the voice of those with experience, not just opinions. I strive to inform the reader and paint a colorful picture with descriptive quotes and observations.
But finding sources is never enough. The interview is one of the most critical parts of reporting, and interviewing is a skill I've focused on developing. I have mountains of yellow legal pads filled with questions and notes from interviews. I always come prepared with questions, but I find it's often the questions I don't prepare that reveal the most, the questions that are a response to a small movement in the eyes or change in tone in the voice that indicates the story goes deeper. It's my job as a journalist to dig deeper with the next, usually improvised question.
Some of my best interviews feel more like conversations rather than drilling an interview subject to get facts. Getting to know the source is critical to telling the whole story.
With well-grounded facts and impactful personal experiences, I've curated stories that I hope have moved my community at 10600 Preston Road and the greater Dallas area forward.
Click on the names of some of the people I've interviewed to learn more about them. Below the description is a link to the article.
Due to the undercover nature of his operations, Osborne's face is blurred and his name is changed to Michael Ottoman in his bio.
For our recent story on human trafficking, we talked to Matt Osborne, who is an alumnus of our school and a leader of several rescue operations for Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), an organization that fights human trafficking. During these operations, he goes undercover to pose as a "sex tourist" seeking to buy sex from victims, who are often minors.
During my interview with Osborne, I gained access to clips from one of the operations, and from this clip (which utilized hidden cameras to take video of the traffickers) we were able to piece together an account of the operation for our readers. This story and interview required extreme maturity and poise since I witnessed the sale of human beings and reached out to the victims themselves.
I interviewed Elizabeth Nyamayaro, who at the time was the executive director for UN Women, for a story on gender equality. I knew going into the conversation that I would need to bring my A-game. I asked her specifically about Emma Watson's recent speech to the UN, which Nyamayaro organized, and from there I branched out into the broader theme of feminism as it relates to men (since we are an all-boys school).
For our most recent cover on gun control, I interviewed Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. I had a small window of time to talk to her, so I immediately had to ask my vital questions. I wanted to investigate the legislative side of President Obama's executive action on guns and allow her to explain the law and how it will work.
In our magazine on Dallas, I spoke with Ross Perot Jr., one of our city's civic leaders and an influential real estate developer. Walking into his stark-white office was intimidating, and he carries an imposing, military-trained frame in a perfectly manicured suit. With this interview, I knew he wasn't going to be easy to open up, so I led with questions about our shared Alma Mater, St. Mark's School of Texas. Soon I proceeded with questions about the growth of Dallas as a city, and he provided insightful responses on his projects and the direction and growth of the Metroplex.
My research for the story on human trafficking didn't end with the interviews. I knew that if I wanted to tell this story right, I had to be more informed on this topic, so I set out to find out as much as possible so I could tell the whole story. I attended an educational forum on human trafficking hosted by New Friends New Life at the George Bush Presidential Center. There, I gathered materials such as infographics and data, connected with several members of the organization, and I heard from some prominent leaders in our community on what it will take to fight this problem.
When presidential candidate Donald Trump came to the American Airlines Center in September 2015, my fellow staff members and I saw an opportunity we couldn't pass up. As research for a story on immigration, we attended a Trump rally just days after his inflammatory comments on Mexicans. We acquired media passes and proudly wore them, even when the crowd booed us. We spoke to individuals at the rally who were informed about Trump's policies, trying to avoid the many opinionated, yet ignorant Trump supporters. These people gave us a view inside the mind of a Trump supporter, which we compared in our article with the personal stories of Mexican immigrants in our community.
As a proponent of infographics, I am frequently sifting through data to find the numbers behind a story. For our February 2016 cover on gun control, my research stemmed from an article from Vox titled "America's gun problem, explained" (click here). From there, I dug through their sources and found that the stats came from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) small arms survey via The Guardian. After a quick internet search, I came upon the list of raw data, confirming the statistics directly from the source.