Fear of the Phone

21 02 2009

This week at the Washington Post, I began working on another OnLeadership video featuring former Georgetown basketball coach, John Thompson Sr. This has been one of my favorite videos in the series thus far, and I’m really excited for it to be featured on the site before March Madness in a few weeks. The most difficult part of editing these interviews is keeping them within a five-minute time limit. I had a particularly hard time cutting this video because Thompson said so many interesting things in the thirty-minute interview and therefore I wanted to keep it all!

I also worked on another project this week for our PostGlobal site. This weekend there will be a special feature on Guantanamo Bay. We were posing an essential question like we do every week that asked, “How should the U.S. handle inmates upon the closure of detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay?” With some suggestions from the managing editor at the Post, we compiled a list of twelve “experts” on the issues surrounding Gitmo. These people included professors who wrote books about Guantanamo, prominent figures in the non-profit sector that are both for and against the closing of the facility, and a family member of a 9/11 victim who is on the board for the World Trade Center memorial. I was able to find contacts for most of these people using my number one tool at work– Google.  While this isn’t always the easiest task, I was able to get enough useful information to begin contacting these people to see if they’d be interested in participating.

I’m always apprehensive about calling people on the phone. I know it’s not one of my best attributes, but in a world with text and e-mail, I think our generation has certainly lost a very useful skill in the professional world—and that is talking to people on the phone. I hate it. I avoid it like the plague. And when my supervisor asked me to help her start calling some of the people on our list, I’m sure my face turned a certain shade of white and green. I was so nervous, but I started dialing my first call and was pleasantly surprised when the woman agreed to participate. It was such a feeling of relief. The next few calls went well, and for the people I didn’t have a phone contact for, I reached out to through e-mail (many of who responded).

Looking back on it now, I’m glad that I had the task of having to call these people. It helped me to start overcoming my fear of the phone in the work setting.

In addition, I also attended another taping for our Leadership show this week. I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. The interview went great and he had a lot of interesting things to say. I know that it will be another tough video to edit.





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