July 9, 2007

My Interview With Ambassador Jawad, And Yours

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.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (8)

Posted by Lola LB | July 9, 2007 8:55 PM

Will there be a transcript of the interview posted? Being deaf, I cannot access your radio show.

Posted by Nicholas | July 9, 2007 9:31 PM

Thank you, that was quite interesting.

I'm surprised he's not worried about Pakistan.. I hope he's right that they have the situation under control.

Posted by bulbasaur | July 9, 2007 10:16 PM

I was very impressed with Ambassador Jawad's candor, such as when he said that yes, he did feel Afghanistan got short changed by the US on many occasions in the last 30 years.

He sounds like someone who loves his homeland, and I admire that.

Great show.

Posted by KendraWilder | July 9, 2007 11:18 PM

Offering your readers the opportunity to put forth pertinent questions that they'd like asked of and answered by the subject of your interviews made for some revealing comments on all sides.

It's a technique that I first saw John Hawkins at Right Wing News use recently, with similar success. It engages people in ways that stimulate the Q&A's to a lively and revealing levels.

Hope to see more of this in the future, especially as the Election '08 campaigns heat up.

Excellent interview, CE!

Posted by Anthony (Los Angeles) | July 10, 2007 12:31 AM

Good interview, Ed. I'm sorry the last few minutes were lost; I was interested in that question on the development of a free media in Afghanistan. The ambassador's suggestion of subsidizing legitimate crops is a good one, too.

Which means congress will pooh-pooh it. :/

Posted by Robert Pointer | July 10, 2007 12:32 AM

very cool. Just an FYI though - the interviews at www.slashdot.org have been doing it in that manner that for years (collecting questions from their readers and using that as the basis for any interviews being done).

In any case, it is still a good process and you should continue with it. :)

Posted by Philip | July 10, 2007 2:24 AM

RE: "dirt-biking"

Well! That will teach you to take me seriously there Ed old boy!! (smiling)

I would love to know what his answer would have been. The question, although compact in form, had hidden meaning that I thought you would pick up on; such as security, economics, national pride and cross-cultural exchange. The Ambassador didn't miss the point and he made my day with his kind words regarding my question and you with a little hat-tip. Thanks!

I dream about riding those hills...

Posted by SkyWatch | July 10, 2007 3:40 AM

This was the first time i listened to CQ radio and i liked it alot accept it crapped out when you got around to the afghan peoples media.