Finding good sources — a ‘strike’ for reporters

bowling shoes at Indiana University bowling lanes

One of our sources was an employee at the bowling lanes. She could tell us about shoe sizes and showed me how to rack up the pins.

Judy Robinson and I are teaching a graduate class at the Indiana University High School Journalism Institute. Our students are high school media teachers. The major assignment is for the students to go on campus and find a story that can be reported through multimedia — text, photos, audio, video.

Judy and I decided that we should go on assignment ourselves. She suggested we do our story about bowling, as a bowling alley adjoins the dining area in the student union.

When we first walked through the bowling alley and talked about the story, all was quiet. An employee was behind the counter, but no one was bowling. We agreed that we still could get a story by interviewing her but would come back in a few minutes.

When we returned, we immediately heard that distinctive sound of a bowling ball hitting pins. “We’re in luck,” I thought. “Someone is bowling.”

bowling

Just what we needed for a multimedia story about bowling — an interview with a bowler and the sound of bowling.

The bowler turned out to be Nick, who services the lanes and equipment. Not only was he bowling lane-by-lane to test the equipment (providing us with that important on-the-scene sound) but he was a good interview source.

Alice, the employee we’d seen earlier, had worked in the bowling alley for just a month and had interesting observations about how repairing bowling equipment related to her music major.

And a father of an incoming IU freshman came in to check out the lanes, as his son was hoping to be on the IU bowling team. He talked about how bowling was part of his family’s tradition and explained how bowling balls are made.

A real strike (in bowling terms) for finding great people to interview for our bowling story.

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