Earlier today, I had the opportunity to engage in some ground-breaking journalism -- a word that I do not toss around lightly. Not only did I get a chance to bring the story of Afghanistan to readers that gets little enough coverage, we could do so in depth with a lengthy interview with Ambassador Said T. Jawad. (Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we started late and lost the last five minutes of the interview.)
Why do I consider this groundbreaking? In one sense, it breaks new ground because the Ambassador rarely gets an opportunity to speak in depth about the status of Afghanistan. Normally, all he gets are quick sound bites taken out of context, or a five-minute segment on a talking-head show in which he never gets the opportunity to speak about his country's experience in any depth at all. In this format, we can allow Ambassador Jawad to speak at length -- and if you listen to the show, you can see that the Ambassador has quite a story to tell.
The most groundbreaking aspect of the interview, I believe, is how the questions came to the Ambassador in the first place. Readers of this blog asked the questions in the comments section, and I selected the most germane and posed them to the Ambassador. His staff reviewed that thread and spoke about how impressed they were with the variety and depth of the questions. Afterwards, Ambassador Jawad said the one question I failed to ask that he wanted to answer was one about dirt-biking in Afghanistan's mountains, which he thought would be a marvelous idea, so I know they paid close attention to your input.
I think that's a remarkable process, one which seems very unique, and one which I will employ in the future. In my opinion, it brings the subject and the audience into a much closer relationship; it gives everyone a larger stake in the process and the product. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and please let me know your opinion on the result.
And for the record, they had the best tasting iced tea I have ever had, and not just because it hit 100 here in DC today.