I had to do some "old-school" journalism this afternoon following Philomath's boys soccer game against Yamhill-Carlton.
I was nearly to the parking lot with the game getting ready to start any minute when I realized I had left my smartphone on the kitchen counter. There would be no timing of the halves with my clock app or doing interviews afterward using my digital recording app.
Fortunately, I didn't forget paper and pen and so I had to write out answers to questions during the interviews. It takes a little longer doing it this way and can interrupt the flow of the conversation. Instead of thinking of my next question, I'm just trying to keep up and write down what had just been said.
Of course, this is the way we used to do it when I started out professionally in 1988. We had mini-cassette recorders and even though many of us used them, we also would take notes in long-hand.
A lot of reporters still take notes with pen or pencil today just in case the electronic marvel fails them. Another reason to take notes in long hand is it's much faster to write the story upon your return to the office. In other words, you don''t have to listen to the interview all over again and it saves time on deadline. It's also a good way to just take note of the highlights from an interview so you can quickly find it later on the recording.
For me, I prefer the recording device for accuracy purposes. I usually don't have daily deadlines to deal with and can take a little time making sure I've got everything right. Besides, I've compared recorded interviews with my long-hand notes and they don't always match up.
Of course, I have to sit right down and right the story right away when doing it with long-hand notes. Why? Because I can't read my writing after an hour or two. It's just clear enough with key words in my sloppy shorthand that I can figure out the quote in full. If I wait a day, recalling details of the interview are not as easy.