A series of unfortunate events

The interview

Well, ahem…I’ll start with what went wrong.

I’d initially arranged to meet Bernie Doeser from the West Cornwall Beekeepers Association at the university’s Tremough campus, but at the last minute he fell ill with flu, and emailed from his sickbed to say he couldn’t make it.

I couldn’t bee-lieve it!

Poor Bernie was very apologetic and even offered to meet me the following week, but by that point my deadline would have passed so I had to very quickly think of a back-up plan.

I contacted several other members of the same organisation, but each person had a different reason for not being able to speak to me: “stuck in Ireland,” “too busy,” “it’s not being recorded, is it?” You get the idea.

With three days to go and my deadline looming large, I started to consider the possibility that I may have to find a new story altogether.

I tentatively looked into a story about nuclear missiles being moved from Scotland to Falmouth, and contacted Jeremy Edwards from Falmouth’s Chamber of Commerce. He’d previously told the local media that this would be a ‘positive move for Cornwall’, but he refused to speak to me on the grounds that he had nothing more to say.

What went right?

While at a local bar (I most definitely wasn’t trying to drown my sorrows,) I received a text message from Matt Pitt, a beekeeper who incidentally used to keep a hive at Tremough. He said he’d be happy to talk and would meet me on campus the following day.

We agreed on the Upper Stannery as a venue, but whilst waiting for him I decided there was far too much background noise which could prove distracting for both of us and detract from the severity of the subject matter. I certainly didn’t want my interview to sound like I’d just found a bloke in a pub and decided to ask him a few questions on the spot.

I settled for a digilab in the Media Centre, which I think made for a more convincing ‘radio studio’ environment.

The interview went far better than I could have hoped for. Matt was incredibly courteous, giving me some great quotes and fantastic information about the effects certain pesticides have on honey bees.

He also brought along several articles about the subject and chatted for a little while after I’d stopped recording. At one point I asked if he thought of his bees as pets: he said they were more like his children!

The only problem I encountered during the interview was with my M-Audio, which for some reason had decided it wasn’t important for me to hear my interview during recording. The headphones were useless and I had to set my levels by sight. Fortunately the sound came out pretty clear, but I credit that mainly to my interviewee’s voice and my choice of location.

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