I had come across Mrs. Henderson’s card on accident. While sifting through one of my free Columbia Chronicle bags that I’d picked up during one of Columbia’s Open Houses, it lay at the very bottom. I remember meeting Ms. Henderson at Columbia that day at Open House, she was at the Columbia College Association of Black Journalist table. I had introduced myself, and upon learning that she worked for Ebony Magazine, I quickly asked for her card. Just in case.
Flash forward to just couple weeks ago. Neither one of the journalists I had intended to cover for my journalist project had contacted me back. I was at a loss with only two weeks to go and I had to get started soon. That’s when I found her card. I read up a little on her, and took note that she was doing everything that I wanted for my future. She was a person to look up to. Successful, smart, and a fantastic journalist. I emailed her immediately, and to my luck she emailed me back. The date was set.
It was time for research. I sat down with my laptop and pen and paper, and immediately found background information on Ms. Henderson on Google, the Google Search Course I’d taken weeks earlier had come in handy. I also used Columbia’s resources, more specifically the library online database. Through several attempts and search refinement I found the archives of Ebony Magazine and all articles written by Shirley Henderson.
After a reschedule, the interview date was approaching. I wrote out every question that came to mind, then got rid of almost half of them. I put my questions in order by topic and importance and found my angle; Henderson’s career and the importance and impact of African American publications and journalists.
The interview was at 10:30 a.m., a time that was best for her, at 200 South Michigan Ave, Ebony’s Chicago Headquarters. I would get there early and look professional, yet stylish. Arriving fifteen minutes early, I had time for Starbucks, and a quick run-through of my questions. It was important that I carried myself confidently and looked and felt prepared.
When I finally met Shirley Henderson, I felt at ease. We made small talk about my walk there, and phones, and magazines. Then when I felt we had built an easy rapport, I asked her if it was alright if I recorded our interview. After her permission, we began. I remained engaged while taking quick notes of important quotes and spellings. Ms. Henderson stayed on topic and gave great quotes and information, even complimenting me on some of my questions. When the interview ended, she gave me a quick tour, and suggested I apply for an internship.
The sign of a successful interview. When I arrived at home I listened to our interview, taking notes of the things I could have done differently, and the things that I couldn’t have done better myself. I also organized my angle into a format that would work best for my story. The interviewing process as a whole was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to do it all over again, an perhaps one day get paid for it.