Dear Future Student,

You will really enjoy this class. If you’re taking this course during the pandemic, I can probably give you some useful feedback. When conducting an interview over zoom, make sure you and your interviewee are in a well-lit space, as well as a quiet setting. Be willing to listen and learn from the organizations you will be helping, and try to build genuine relationships if you would like to continue to be involved in community organizing.

In my experience, it was challenging not to add my own input during an oral history. Because of that, I spent time ensuring that my questions were specifically tailored to my interviewee’s story. I highly recommend getting to know them during a pre-interview, and to be willing to ask about their personal experience. Use that time to have a conversation with them and help them open up, so that it’s all about the interviewee on the day of the oral history. 

Most of all, try to keep in contact with your interviewee and with the organization you selected; it can become a meaningful relationship, as it did for me.