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Letter from the editor: The way interviews with Ohio State administrators are run

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OSU President Michael Drake sat down with The Lantern staff for an interview on Jan. 26. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

OSU President Michael Drake sat down with The Lantern staff for an interview on Jan. 26.
Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

President Michael Drake paid a visit to The Lantern’s newsroom earlier this week. In light of that, I thought it would be worthwhile to share the way we conduct these types of interviews in the hopes of opening that door to our readers and making the process more transparent.

The way that we’ve conducted these interviews in the time I’ve been on The Lantern’s staff — since fall 2012 — is about the same way that we did this time.

About once per semester, sometimes more and sometimes less, the president, or occasionally an Ohio State administrator, schedules a time with us when they’ll come to our newsroom for an interview. Typically we’re scheduled for an hour together, though sometimes we end up having more or less time. In preparation for that interview, Lantern staff members submit questions to the editor-in-chief for her or him to seed through, narrow down and prioritize. In doing so, the editor thinks about what things like what the community needs answers about and what stories The Lantern is working on that could use that individual’s voice in the coming months.

The day of, we as a staff gather around our table in the center of the newsroom with our printed list of questions. That list is never given to the interviewee ahead of time. The interviewee then arrives, usually with some media relations staff in tow, and we go around asking questions off of our prepared list. But we don’t stop at those questions — we ask again when a question isn’t answered, we ask follow-ups, and we sometimes improvise additional questions.

We audio record the interview and have photographers take photos during it, and often we have access to video-record the interview as well. This time we did not have that particular access.

I’ve enjoyed these interviews throughout my time here because it’s a time when we’re allowed to ask some of the most influential people at the university what we want to know, in person. I’m happy with the way we run them, though I’m always thinking of how to improve the way we do things, so the process might be different in the future.

As always, please leave your suggestions and feedback in our comments section or feel free to email me. Your ideas are always welcome.

Liz Young
Editor-in-chief

4 comments

  1. I am glad President Drake got around to giving the interview somewhere around 200+ days into his presidency. Goals: at 100 days figure out semesters; at 200 days talk to The Lantern editors; at 300 days lawsuit defense costs exceed $1M of taxpayer money; at 400 days …

  2. I appreciate knowing this information, and in my opinion, University elites need to be more receptive and available to both student journalists and other student, faculty and staff organizations. Unfortunately, my impression of academic administrators is that they are comprised of a separate subculture, overly influenced by their obscenely high pay, weird perks and other trappings of power. They’ve moved solidly within the perview of Lord Acton’s dictum and thus are unable to relate to “the commoners.”

    As such, the Academe has become a severely stratified institution of limited thought patterns, being led by an elite steeped not so much in academics as in socioeconomic privilege and hierarchical values instead of human ones.

    If OSU were a private corporation I wouldn’t be complaining. However, we’re supposed to be a “land grant university.” We’re all supposed to be “public servants.” Unfortunately at OSU, some of these “servants” think nothing of their six figure salaries and their five and sometimes six figure bonuses, and that’s only one aspect of my criticism!

    “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” -Patton

    “People, ideas and hardware–In that order!” Col. John Boyd, USAF

    Karl

  3. I think I’d do it in a dark room with a bright unshaded light directly in Drake’s face.

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