Recent OU and OU Daily almuna Chloe Moores spent her first summer out of college interning at the TulsaWorld, producing stories ranging from topics such as glass-blowing, video game competitions and concert reviews. The first article to pop up upon searching her name on the TulsaWorld website, however, is “Beware Tulsa Tough Cyclists, The Hannimal is back,” an in-depth look into the accomplishments of junior cyclist Hannah Jordan.
The freshman in high school regularly places in adult races, is fiercely competitive and rides with a backpack that holds a gastrointestinal tube, known as her G-Tube, that keeps her alive. Jordan suffers from what doctors believe to be a mitochondrial disease and was in poor health for the first 10 years of her life, but since she was introduced to the G-Tube her life has changed.
With the annual cycling event coming up soon after Moores began her internship, her editor wanted her to write two stories on Tulsa Tough: one general story and one feature. After contacting the event’s PR coordinator she received a list of those entered and stumbled upon Jordan and decided to give her the spotlight.
Having already been covered by the media, Jordan’s medical history was well-documented when Moores began getting in touch with the family, so she wanted the biggest take-away to be what an amazing athlete she was.
Moores met with Jordan and her parents before a practice one evening and took some time to get to know them–especially the parents–before any of the actual interviewing began. She wanted the biggest priority to be making the parents feel comfortable and letting them know that they could trust her, because she was aware that these were their lives that they were sharing about and Moores cared.
It was during this internship that Moores realized how vital note-taking was during an interview because it ensured that the information was accurate and also allowed the sources more time to process and elaborate. She now prefers to start recording later in an interview because she can establish a bond first since recorders can make sources uneasy at times.
“Most of the times when I’ve had those light bulb moments like, ‘Oh this is so great,’ are when I’ve turned my recorder off because I think that people feel more comfortable and trusting when you write something down,” Moores said. “It’s reinforcement that you care about getting it right.”
Getting it right is very important to Moores and she isn’t ever afraid to follow up with sources like she did with Jordan’s mother after their initial meeting. She knew that she was going to try to get the heart and soul of the story in this first interview and focus on getting not only the medical, but the logistical information right later on.
To her surprise, Jordan’s track record was nearly as extensive as her medical record and it took several phone calls with her mother to get all her cycling information right, too.
She noted that brevity wasn’t her strong suit and that it was a process to sift through all the information but she kept her main goal to show Jordan’s cycling success in mind to aid her in identifying what was necessary.
“I felt that it was important for Hannah to be recognized more for her accomplishments than her disease,” Moores said.
After her story was published she followed an editor’s piece of advice that she holds dear from her summer in Tulsa: If someone asks you to come back, you have to. If a source wants you to come back and chat or hang out, do it, because it is important to maintain that relationship not only for future networking but for maintaining that relationship of trust.
She delivered hard copies of the story to Jordan’s mother because they wanted to share what Moores had written and also to catch up and she said it’s always the cherry on top to hear that people like your story.