Some people see reporters as like little flies buzzing around a story just bothering people with questions constantly. Apparently that’s not what we are supposed to do.
Basically what Anne Hull said was to be the camera person in a nature documentary. Just sit and watch. Don’t interfere in the action taking place. Even if the gazelle gets mauled by the lion, you just have sit back and let nature take it’s course, and that’s how we should be as reporters.
Just observe the subject in its natural environment. Don’t disrupt the action for anything. Really get on the level of the subject. I’m assuming that if they can end up forgetting you are even there then that is a great success.
To me, this is the hardest part about features. I mean, I know if I were to do a review of some place, I have to get in and experience it. I need to eat at the restaurant on a Saturday dinner service to see how well the staff are under pressure. I have to attend one of the final dress rehearsals of the play, and it would be better if the staff and I weren’t the only ones in the audience to really simulate a performance. I guess I just didn’t realize exactly how involved this process could be. Actually being on the farm as the workers and being in their conditions. Sleeping as much as they do and experiencing their travel. It is really an intense experience.
So, as a journalist, do I just need to say good bye to sleep?