Three Things to Remember Before You Shoot a Report
- ON CAMERA CONSENT – Every person you interview should say, "My name is _____, and I consent for Video the Vote to use my image or likeness for their election protection documentation project."
- FRAME YOUR SUBJECT – When interviewing, your interviewee should be on one side of the frame with the polling place recognizable in the background. A brick wall or nondescript background does not confirm the location. Be sensitive to other voters who may not want to be taped in the shot.
- SOUND – Get close to the interviewee so that your camera picks up the sound. If they are in front of a noisy polling place ask to step a few feet away.
- Have a conversation first. Get the voter comfortable with you and make sure that he or she can express his or herself clearly. Listen and understand what he or she is telling you so that you can ask follow up questions.
- Length: Ideally interviews will be 30 seconds and no more than 2 minutes each.
- Who, What, Where & Why: Have the voter introduce himself or herself and quickly describe what is happening. What polling place, county, city, state, that it is Election Day and what is happening.
- Ask objective, non-leading questions. Instead of "Did you have a hard time voting today?" try, "How was your experience voting today?"
- Ask your interviewees to answer in complete sentences. If you ask someone how long they waited to vote, and he or she responds "One hour," that will not be understandable on its own. Don’t ever be afraid to ask someone to state clearly – "I waited one hour to vote today."
- Press record a 5 seconds before the voter starts talking to ensure that the first few moments of an interview are not cut off.
- Get supporting images: If a voter is describing long lines or police intimidation, position the interview in front or go back to get shots of what he or she is describing.
Responsibility & Citizen Journalism
There is a chance that your footage could be seen in the media the same day you shoot it. Since the mainstream media is looking to us as a source for reporting election issues, we have the responsibility to verify as much of what we learn as possible.
If you get a testimonial about a problem from a voter ask a poll worker if they can talk about the issue or see if other voters report the same problem.