Bettina- you are awesome! I am super impressed with how well you summarized Lisbeth’s talk. You actually cleared a lot of concepts up for me :) Thanks!
Question #1: I am happy to say that I have been using #4: Be encouraging and give up control. I have found that it is so much easier to talk to people when I put on a smile and let the conversation flow naturally. I have had some excellent interviews from buskers by treating my interviews as “informal conversations” and I’ve learned that there is much value in truly listening to what they have to say. It’s also interesting to see how staying silent can actually be a catalyst for many people to continue talking. Originally I tried to avoid awkward silence in between questions or sentences, but by allowing the pause in conversation, many of my interviewees have filled the silence for me and continued talking- which is great!
I definitely plan to continue using #4, but I also want to use #10: Follow up. Even though it’s very “unjournalistic”, I think it’s important for communities to give their opinion on their stories before the rest of the world sees it. What if I got something wrong or the story will put someone in a bad situation? I would like to know what the community thinks before I publish it. Once you get the community’s feedback, then you must use your journalism ethics and decide whether the story is still worth publishing or whether it will cause more harm than good.
Question #2: The “fan” community that blows my mind is anime and comic book nerds ;) I have never been really into anime or comics but last year my boyfriend and I attended Comic Con in NYC… and it was epic! I knew that people dressed up in cosplay but I found it fascinating that cosplayers went beyond just dressing up. Many took on the actual character’s personality! They definitely have a strong online community, but they also tell stories face-to-face via Comic Con and other meet-ups.
Question #3: I both agree and disagree with this statement, depending on the community it refers to. There are some communities that consist of people with a specific background who share a common heritage or ethnicity… Obviously people who do not share that background are viewed as “outsiders” of the community and there is little that can be done about that. So in terms of communities that form around common heritage, that statement is true. We can certainly feel for ethnic communities that we are not a part of, but no matter what we do, we probably will never be considered a part of them.
However, other communities (like the NYC busking community) are formed by common interests and actions. Therefore, I think the statement does not apply to communities like that. The cool thing about the busking community is that pretty much anyone can be a busker! It is all inclusive as long as the individual is performing for the public. When I saw a man drumming on a bucket in the Times Square 42nd street subway station, it sparked an internal debate about what it means to be a “busker”. Do you have to be talented? Does it have to sound good? Is effort alone enough for someone to be considered a “busker”? My first impression was that the man did not exhibit much musical talent… but he was definitely trying. I was also uncertain of his living situation… his clothes were fairly torn and he looked like he was struggling. He may have been homeless. I paced around the station for a while and contemplated this situation. Even if he was homeless, it wouldn’t matter because anyone can be a busker; home or no home. In terms of whether his performance was “busking material”, I came to the conclusion that it was. Art is subjective! “Busking” to one person may be different to another, and that’s okay.