The Media School

Interviewing locals proves to be challenging, but rewarding

March 28th, 2019 by

For my person on the street assignment, I interviewed visitors at the Bloomington Music Expo. The event occurred at the Monroe Convention Center on Feb. 9.

I arrived around 11 a.m. hoping to catch the morning crowd before the event was too packed.

The main room contained a stage at the far end, a viewing area before it, and blocks of tables holding 25 different music related organizations. When I arrived there must’ve only been about 50 attendees there, but as the day went on the space quickly filled.

Local musicians performed on the stage throughout the day. I was not there for the entire duration, but every act I was able to see was entertaining and talented. A variety of DJ’s, and bands of different genres performed, allowing something for everybody.

At the end of the room there was a smaller conjoining one where the vinyl and art sellers gathered. I decided to conduct my interviews in this room because it was the furthest point away from the stage – so hopefully also the quietest.

The vendors had vast collections of not only vinyl records, but CD’s and cassette tapes as well. Some were selling new and local releases, such as Joyful Noise, but there were also independent vendors that sold obscure releases, and rare original pressings.

“This assignment was challenging for me, but it definitely helped me grow as an individual. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to talk to people that I normally wouldn’t talk to. I was able to learn a lot more about the Bloomington community and the music that comes out of it.”

I’ve conducted many interviews before, but a person on the street interview was a new concept for me. Achieving interviews was much more difficult than I thought it would be.

I already had anxiety about asking strangers if I could have a moment of their time, but I became increasingly discouraged with each rejection. I can sympathize with those I asked because the average attendee was there to experience the Expo, rather than give up their time for a student.

The interviewing process was difficult because I felt like I had to juggle multiple tasks at once. I had my notepad with my questions in one hand, the recorder in the other, and a camera bag slung around my neck.

I usually take detailed notes during my interviews, but I didn’t have an open hand to write with. Maintaining quality audio levels during the interview was difficult due to all the background noise.

Despite my initial anxiety, everyone that I was able to actually interview turned out to be nice and understanding. They had varying knowledge on the Bloomington music scene, but everyone was very supportive of it. I was able to learn new things through my interviews as well, such as the closing of The Player’s Pub.

This assignment was challenging for me, but it definitely helped me grow as an individual. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to talk to people that I normally wouldn’t talk to. I was able to learn a lot more about the Bloomington community and the music that comes out of it.

I was surprised about the range of attendees there as well. I frequent house shows in Bloomington, but the audience is almost exclusively college students. At the Expo I saw everything from small children to senior citizens.

I was glad that I was able to learn about something I care about, the Bloomington music scene, and I was delighted to know that so many others care about it too.