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Approached for an interveiw about Geocaching.


JohnE5
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I have been contacted by the local paper about interviewing for an article about geocaching. I'm really nervous about it, this would be the first exposure this area would get about geocaching. Any points I should include or avoid?

 

I used to write these kinds of fluffy articles/interviews for local publications (another life ago). What I always wanted to capture was the person's enthusiasm. I spent a lot of time warming the person up, asking easy questions, following up with other questions, doing a bit more to get the person to relax, until the person's natural enthusiasm broke out. I was after the money-quote. That is, I wanted something pithy and exciting or heartwarming that I could include in my article. Chances are you'll talk to the reporter for 45 minutes and she'll use two sentences.

 

My advice to you is to think about what you love most about geocaching and how you would describe it using short sentences. You might try coming up with things to finish these sentences "Geocaching is like...." "My favorite part of finding a cache is..."

 

If you have an exciting or funny or heartwarming story about geocaching, tell that. If there's a romantic angle, bring that in. So if you cache with your girlfriend or met your wife caching or found a romantic spot caching, tell the reporter about it.

 

She'll probably want you to describe the process of finding or hiding a cache, so you might want to think about that. I suspect the geocaching community will want you to emphasize that caches are never buried.

 

One thing to remember is that reporters doing stories like this are not doing gotcha journalism. This is fluffy kitten journalism. Just relax and I think you'll do fine.

 

Carolyn

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I'd recommend getting questions in advance as well. It of course doesn't hurt to have a laptop and computer access to act as a memory aid and to help you clarify information during the interview.

 

Don't be afraid to ask to answer a question after the interview so you can verify information if necessary - offer to e-mail your written answer to the reporter if necessary after you verify facts to ensure you are accurate.

 

Just relax and have fun with it - and thanks for your service.

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Locations and the swag always come up in these pieces. Have a couple of your best stories ready, especially any particularly interesting locations caching has taken you. You may want to give some good examples of swag, or you may want to downplay that whole aspect of it, depending on your caching style.

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I take them caching!

 

Find three or four local caches of different types then sit down and talk. After finding the first give them the GPS and a quick drill and let them take you to the second. Great advice in the posts above but nothing will get the game across like actually doing it, and since that will be a natural environment for you relaxation and spontaneous conversation will be easier.

 

Check the caches before you take a reporter to them... on one interview I took the reporter and photographer to one of my own caches and... DNF! It was muggled!

 

The last interviews I did were for two articles in Great Days Outdoors Magazine. We went to a local state park where I had two other geocachers join me to meet with the writer. We found three caches and hid one for the writer to own (which I maintain since I am in the park regularly). After that we all sat down in the park office for the interview, and I introduced the writer to a park Ranger whom she also interviewed about their aspect on geocaching and their permit policy.

 

That netted two articles, which were received so well that the magazine made a monthly column about geocaching!

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Geocaching is not a "high-tech treasure hunt" or "scavenger hunt" or "game of hide-and-seek". I would LOVE to see an article just once that avoided those tired and incorrect cliches. It is closer to orienteering than any of those other descriptions, if a comparison MUST be made.

 

Good luck!

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Geocaching is not a "high-tech treasure hunt" or "scavenger hunt" or "game of hide-and-seek". I would LOVE to see an article just once that avoided those tired and incorrect cliches. It is closer to orienteering than any of those other descriptions, if a comparison MUST be made.

 

Good luck!

 

I'm kind of partial to "Similar to GPS-enabled Letterboxing". Which leads to questions (in this country) of "what is letterboxing?"

 

I've tried to compare it to "pixel hunt" computer games, but that hasn't met with any success either.

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I have been contacted by the local paper about interviewing for an article about geocaching. I'm really nervous about it, this would be the first exposure this area would get about geocaching. Any points I should include or avoid?

 

Be prepared when reading the article to learn that they ignored everything you thought important and wanted to convey. You are talking to a muggle and they tend to print the things they think would be interesting to other muggles.

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I suspect the geocaching community will want you to emphasize that caches are never buried.

 

In 2003 and early 2004 I was interviewed 3 different times for "fluffy kitten" geocaching articles (thank you for that phrase, Carolyn). I emphasized Not Buried. All three articles included the phrase, "the search for buried treasure".

A modest warning, not that there is anything you can do about the lazy journalist, who will talk to you, read the front page of GC.com and write something.

 

I like what TheAlabamaRambler suggested, and, indeed, the best geocaching articles I've seen have been those where the journalist went on a cache hunt or two. Convey your enthusiasm, fun! fun! it's not about the tech and it's not about the swag; it's fun.

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I take them caching!

 

Find three or four local caches of different types then sit down and talk. After finding the first give them the GPS and a quick drill and let them take you to the second. Great advice in the posts above but nothing will get the game across like actually doing it, and since that will be a natural environment for you relaxation and spontaneous conversation will be easier.

 

 

As a 15-year former wire service reporter, I heartily recommend following Rambler's advice. Don't just sit in a coffee shop and talk, ask the reporter and photographer to drive with you to a couple of decent caches nearby. They'll get a much better feel for our hobby/sport/obsession, and the photographer will actually have something to do.

 

By the way, also as a former reporter, I can give you a few other tips: I'd advise against asking for questions in advance. Conversations never follow those kind of written pathways, and it could look a bit suspicious to the reporter. Also, don't ask to review the story before it's published -- very, very, very few newspapers will allow that anyway.

 

For the interview, if you don't know an answer, tell the truth, but offer to help with research to find an answer. Never lie. If you're at all uncomfortable with any of the questions, it's your right to decline to answer, but it's also good form to try to explain why you don't want to answer.

 

Treat it as a conversation, not an interview, and it should be fun.

 

Best,

Jon

Edited by jsarche
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I suspect the geocaching community will want you to emphasize that caches are never buried.

 

In 2003 and early 2004 I was interviewed 3 different times for "fluffy kitten" geocaching articles (thank you for that phrase, Carolyn). I emphasized Not Buried. All three articles included the phrase, "the search for buried treasure".

Although we stress that caches aren't "buried", think of this from a muggles viewpoint. The cache isn't laying on the ground in plain view. Caches are under piles of rocks, sticks, anything that can be moved to cover it up. IMHO... technically you could say it was "buried", and that is exactly what some one will say. "We found a cache buried under a pile of sticks".
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I suspect the geocaching community will want you to emphasize that caches are never buried.

 

In 2003 and early 2004 I was interviewed 3 different times for "fluffy kitten" geocaching articles (thank you for that phrase, Carolyn). I emphasized Not Buried. All three articles included the phrase, "the search for buried treasure".

Although we stress that caches aren't "buried", think of this from a muggles viewpoint. The cache isn't laying on the ground in plain view. Caches are under piles of rocks, sticks, anything that can be moved to cover it up. IMHO... technically you could say it was "buried", and that is exactly what some one will say. "We found a cache buried under a pile of sticks".

 

Yes, but it is important that we try our best to eliminate that wording.

 

I think that, if it were me, the very last thing I would say to the reporter before "good-bye" is... "so... how deep were they buried?"

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Check the caches before you take a reporter to them... on one interview I took the reporter and photographer to one of my own caches and... DNF! It was muggled!

I was interviewed for local TV and took along a complete ammo box. Sure enough, the cache was muggled and I fell back on plan B, pretending to be surprised at the high-quality swag which "other cachers" had left.

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I was contacted by the local paper and I pulled in several other local cachers to do the interview with me. That gave a broader view of the people that cache. We talked and then went to a nearby cache to "find" it for the interview so he'd see what a "typical" cache was like. The article turned out very well. Keep it simple, people get easily confused about some of the details until they've been doing it some.

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I've done 4 newspaper, 1 radio and 1 tv interview about Geocaching over the years. Every one of them was quite different from the others. The only thing I would really emphasize is that caches are not and should not be buried and that we have developed a good set of guidelines to follow for caching. The ability to somewhat self-police is important to many officials.

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Geocaching is not a "high-tech treasure hunt" or "scavenger hunt" or "game of hide-and-seek". I would LOVE to see an article just once that avoided those tired and incorrect cliches. It is closer to orienteering than any of those other descriptions, if a comparison MUST be made.

 

Good luck!

 

Just out of curiosity...Could you explain why those are bad ways to explain geocaching? I am trying to explain this to friends and i can't think of a good way to sum up geocaching...Any advice? Thanks!

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Geocaching is not a "high-tech treasure hunt" or "scavenger hunt" or "game of hide-and-seek". I would LOVE to see an article just once that avoided those tired and incorrect cliches. It is closer to orienteering than any of those other descriptions, if a comparison MUST be made.

 

Good luck!

 

Just out of curiosity...Could you explain why those are bad ways to explain geocaching? I am trying to explain this to friends and i can't think of a good way to sum up geocaching...Any advice? Thanks!

 

Well, these are just my opinions, but...

 

First of all, the "high-tech" part has more to do with the people that launch the satellites and develop the GPS receivers that we use. What we do really isn't much more "high-tech" than using our TV remote.

 

It also isn't a treasure hunt, really. At the very least, that gives the wrong idea, conveying notions of buried loot. If a used matchbox car is your idea of "treasure", then maybe its at least partially true, but I don't think that's what the average person thinks of when they hear that description.

 

Scavenger hunt: A Scavenger Hunt is an entirely different animal. Teams (or maybe individuals) are given a list of odd things to collect. The one that collects the most from their list wins. Has nothing to do with geocaching.

 

Hide-and-seek: You played that when you were a kid. What did you hide, and what did you seek. You hid a person, and you sought that person. Did you have coordinates? No. Did you trade swag? No.

 

These "tastes like chicken" analogies just confuse the issue. Geocaching is like geocaching.

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Geocaching is not a "high-tech treasure hunt" or "scavenger hunt" or "game of hide-and-seek". I would LOVE to see an article just once that avoided those tired and incorrect cliches. It is closer to orienteering than any of those other descriptions, if a comparison MUST be made.

 

Good luck!

 

Just out of curiosity...Could you explain why those are bad ways to explain geocaching? I am trying to explain this to friends and i can't think of a good way to sum up geocaching...Any advice? Thanks!

 

Well, these are just my opinions, but...

 

First of all, the "high-tech" part has more to do with the people that launch the satellites and develop the GPS receivers that we use. What we do really isn't much more "high-tech" than using our TV remote.

 

It also isn't a treasure hunt, really. At the very least, that gives the wrong idea, conveying notions of buried loot. If a used matchbox car is your idea of "treasure", then maybe its at least partially true, but I don't think that's what the average person thinks of when they hear that description.

 

Scavenger hunt: A Scavenger Hunt is an entirely different animal. Teams (or maybe individuals) are given a list of odd things to collect. The one that collects the most from their list wins. Has nothing to do with geocaching.

 

Hide-and-seek: You played that when you were a kid. What did you hide, and what did you seek. You hid a person, and you sought that person. Did you have coordinates? No. Did you trade swag? No.

 

These "tastes like chicken" analogies just confuse the issue. Geocaching is like geocaching.

 

So, you don't go for my analogy (always delivered with breathless enthusiasm): "It's exactly like being Sydney Bristow in Alias! Well, except without the bad guys. Or the wardrobe. Or guns. But otherwise, it is exactly like that!"

 

Carolyn

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So, you don't go for my analogy (always delivered with breathless enthusiasm): "It's exactly like being Sydney Bristow in Alias! Well, except without the bad guys. Or the wardrobe. Or guns. But otherwise, it is exactly like that!"

 

Carolyn

 

Not at all, Carolyn. I think that is the perfect analogy. I only wish that all media articles began with that. Thanks for contributing. :blink:

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My usual talking points when interviewed:

 

1-geocaches are not buried

2-A fun bonding experience for families

3- we don't bury geocaches

4-A good way to discover exciting new places

5-burying geocaches is not allowed

6-gets kids out from in front of the TV or video games

7- no burying of caches

8-helps create a new generation of advocates for open spaces

9-there is no buried treasure

10-A low impact activity that is being embraced by more and more park systems

11. the things aren't buried

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My usual talking points when interviewed:

 

1-geocaches are not buried

2-A fun bonding experience for families

3- we don't bury geocaches

4-A good way to discover exciting new places

5-burying geocaches is not allowed

6-gets kids out from in front of the TV or video games

7- no burying of caches

8-helps create a new generation of advocates for open spaces

9-there is no buried treasure

10-A low impact activity that is being embraced by more and more park systems

11. the things aren't buried

 

How deep are they usually buried? Should I bring a pick-axe, or will a simple shovel do?

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