A seasoned journalist from my newsroom had had a harsh polemic with a politician, the secretary of education of the regional government. She basically called him a liar in a column. He was furious and he threatened with stopping the source of info about his department. I was then one of the youngest reporters of the newspaper, but my boss sent me to try to fix the problem by offering him a broad interview about his goals and projects.
Reluctantly, he accepted and told me to go see him right after lunch.
My first interview with a member of the government! I got ready with a battery of questions written in my notebook and my tape recorder.
Those days – it was my first year in the newsroom and I was the reporter for everything – I had been working non stop from early in the morning till very late at night and I was exhausted.
When I arrived to the office of the politician, I noticed, pretty surprised, that he was scared of me, a beginner. He awaited me ready with a stack of notes with all kind of data about all the questions I could possibly ask. I have never felt before like that the power of my profession.
It was summer, the day was very hot, the sun was shining and he had lowered the blinds to maintain the office fresh. I sat down in a very comfortable chair in front of him, turned on my tape recorder, asked my first question, began to take notes and the next thing I remember was an uneasy silence.
I opened my eyes and saw a descendant line in my notebook. I looked up and saw the man looking at me flummoxed. I just had fallen asleep! In the middle of the interview!
I looked at my list of questions, uttered the second one, and… yes. I did it again: another silence, another crazy line in my notebook…
– I’m sorry… I began to say
– Would you like a cup of coffee? he interrupted me
We managed to finish the interview and it was a good one.
(In the picture, me, as a reporter)