How to Write a Vox Pop Article
Things You'll Need
- Good interviewing skills
- The ability to handle rejection by strangers
Writing a vox pop article -- meaning Vox Populi, or Voice of the People -- is never easy. It basically means going up to total strangers and asking their opinion on something. You're a glorified polster, and your boss wants results in two hours. Here are some ways to get the quotes you need and write a super article from them.
Smile, be friendly, and prepare to be ignored!
Go to a busy place, such as a shopping mall or bus station. The more people around, the better the chances of one actually talking to you, and the better the chances of one actually agreeing to go on the record.
Choose eclectically -- approach a mix of people -- teenagers, men, women, the elderly, etc. You want to get as many different opinions as possible.
Take notes and write down people's names before asking them questions. You will likely not remember who said what. Do not rely on a tape recorder. It will likely be noisy.
Ask the people about what they do for a living as well -- this can add some color to the article, as it will give readers a sense of the kind of lives the "people on the street" live and how they view things. A schoolteacher may have very different opinions than a lawyer or a banker.
When writing the article, incorporate at least one pair of views that are drastically different from one another -- to showcase the varying opinions in society, as well as one that may be neutral or sound particularly interesting.
End your article with a "kicker" quote -- a quote that really stands out, that may summarize the theme of the article and one that the reader may find funny or thought-provoking.
You may want to take notes about people's appearances -- an article about poverty, for example, will be a lot more interesting if you mention the ratty clothes the peddler woman you interviewed was wearing, or the designer shoes and gold cuff links the corporate lawyer you spoke to sported.
If someone uses a lot of profanity, you may opt to exclude him. Profanity rarely adds anything useful to articles.