Day Two: Asking the tough questions

by Andrea Saldana, June 16 2020


Waking up early wasn’t as bad today — I even woke up an hour before so the morning started off well.


For our first session, we listened to guest speaker Melanie Asmar, a senior reporter for Chalkbeat. During the Zoom session, we were allowed to ask questions about interviewing and how Asmar uses storytelling to paint a picture for her writing. I asked her a question about a certain instance when I had a difficult time responding to an interviewee becoming emotional. Asmar gave me some great advice: She told me that when she encounters this herself, she treats her interviewee like a friend, and also asks them if they need a break.


After Asmar’s session, we met up with our instructors; it was a short meeting and I was able to get to work as soon as possible, but to be honest, I took a 30-40 minute power nap.


Once I woke up again, however, I began writing the bio for my assigned partner. I was happy with the outcome and sent it to my peer — she liked it! I came back to the Zoom call and got to share a piece of news that I read. I shared an article by David Debolt about California and its new police reform, which I am happy about since I’ve been keeping up with the Black Lives Matter movement and have been wanting change in our justice system.


After that, Robert Salonga (one of our instructors) gave a talk and we were able to ask him questions and know more about his work. I was pretty fascinated with his past articles and reporting he’s done, and he explained to me how to start building connections for upcoming stories. He also made it clear that in the journalism world, there will be times when people will be upset with what you write. But, as he says, it’s part of the job. Salonga also mentioned that you always have to be truthful and be steady. Overall, today was an improvement. There were a lot of technical issues the first time around, but everything was much easier today and we got a lot done. 

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Simone Otus Coxe   |   CCNMA Latino Journalists of California  |   Elaine Elkin   |   Silicon Valley Community Foundation  |  Chalkbeat