by Amy Atkins
I stopped by Radio Shack tonight to buy an Olympus in-ear microphone. I bought this same mic several months ago, but it has become so popular among my peers that three of us were trying to figure out who got to use it when we all had a 10am interview on Monday. It's a terrific little device that fits snugly in your ear, causing no interference with a phone handset. It makes for talking with even the most verbose interviewee a comfortable experience. But one issue with the nifty little mic is that it garners an unsafe a sense of comfort in conducting an interivew. I find I take fewer notes now, relying on a recording I can refer to later. And, it doesn't work at all if plugged into the earphone jack of a recorder instead of the mic one.
A couple of years ago, I interviewed comedian Auggie Smith. Auggie and I chatted about his family, his politics, his views on the Statue of Liberty and his feelings on Bed, Bath and Beyond. The mic picked up my voice ambiently, but there was no Auggie on the recording...just 40 minutes of me saying, "So, do you have any siblings?" followed by silence, followed by me chortling. "Who are some of your favorite comedians on the circuit right now?" Silence. "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" When it came time to transcribe the interview, I was mortified. I had no recording and I had taken few notes and had no recording to fall back on.
Fortunately, most of the interview stuck with me (he is a very, very funny man) and with plenty of paraphrasing and narrative, I was able to write a piece that showed the comedian in a truthful light. When I met him later, I abashedly told him the story. He said if I had just called him back, he would gladly have done the interview again. Who knew?