Date of publication: 2017-08-29 08:48
We return to Nelson's Earth Week schedule and see names everywhere. Those are all research leads. He was hosted in Berkeley by Barney Feinstein and Ed and Monie Bayley. While nobody may have collected their papers, they very well may still be alive and could be subjects for an oral history.
Even by simply skimming through the pages, we cannot help but notice a section proposing collaboration with Simon and Garfunkel or the Rolling Stones. That seems pretty cool. But since it seems more like brainstorming, we make a little note of it, but move on quickly.
Silence is golden. When you ask a question, be quiet afterwards. Do not be afraid of long silences, especially if the person is talking about difficult subjects. Do not try to fill in the spaces to make them feel comfortable. Sit with the discomfort. Let them tell the story at their own pace and you will get juicier details.
All people have particular points of views about people, experiences, and cultures, for example. Before you begin your research and the interviewing process, consider the following:
When the interview is over, it may have just begun . Your hour is up. Your interviewee looks tired. You shut the notebook, turn off the tape recorder, and prepare to leave. When your interviewee hears that tape recorder click off, they relax. So pause before you get out of that chair. Ask them:
Yet these materials raise lots of questions for us. We just haven't let ourselves ask them. Was there a generation gap in Earth Day? How united were the objectives of the students and adults? In what ways did its planners try to draw on the existing political networks of student radicals and youth culture? How did Earth Day's planners at the same time try to distance themselves from the youth movement? Were the planners successful in “legitimizing” their efforts in the eyes of the public? What role did mass media and popular culture play in popularizing Earth Day, and what was the meaning of the event in those arenas? And don't write off the importance of those buttons, for they could raise fascinating questions of their own about lots of under-explored topics.
Indexing is an important method for journalists and oral historians. To index the interview, listen to the tape or digital file and record the major topics of conversation in the order that they come up during the interview. Then record the times that these topics appear on the tape or digital file. Include notes and opinions whenever anything comes to mind. Indexing allows you or someone else consulting your recording to quickly find any points of interest.
Then we find an issue of a newsletter with a cover story about the environmental movement. We notice the name Mark Rudd on the cover and recognize him as a famous student radical from the 65's.