Tuesday, October 29, 2019


I enjoyed taking part in a recent writers' gathering where the topic of vox pop  (popular opinion) was the subject.  The topics of general acronyms and "vox pop" were top of the discussion list and were once a favourite item on the late Dennis Rookard's radio shows way back in the '70s and '80s. 
Dennis Rookard in his studio in Brentwood, Essex

The Latin phrase vox populi, meaning "voice of the people" is often requested by newspapers and magazine editors and is a tool used in numerous forms of media to find out about people's public thoughts. Random subjects are asked to give their views on particular topics and their responses are presented to the reader as a reflection of popular opinion.

Preparing for your upcoming interviews for radio or television, the interviewer approaches people "in the street" and asks them simple questions about the topic. These people will often be new to being interviewed and may be a little  nervous. It's therefore important to make them feel comfortable and relaxed. When asking people to take part, don't give them time to worry about how they look or what their friends will think. Use a short, sharp standard question such as "Would you mind answering a couple of quick questions? First, make sure you have their permission to use their answer and try to avoid leading questions.

When taking photos, these are usually framed as close-ups and it's important to think about the interviewee's looking direction, and get an equal number of left-facing and right-facing subjects. These can then be alternated when you start post-production. Some like to get all answers with a particular opinion facing one way, and answers with an opposing opinion facing the other way. Maybe this is a little contrived; it all depends on the moment and the situation. Think ahead and make sure you that an accurate mix of genders and races are represented, appropriate to the population being surveyed.

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