Eminent Interview Reflection – Jane Jacobs – Hanson

During my research into Jane Jacob’s work, I planned to interview someone who was more knowledgeable and possibly connected to her. After carefully crafting guiding interview questions and practicing my interviewing skills with other TALONS 10 students, I targeted 3 potential interviewees who I believed was most knowledgeable about Jane’s work. I aimed to interview authors and journalists who wrote about Jane, the managers at her foundation, and even tried looking for family members. At the end, I resulted with two people who worked at Jane’s foundation and an author of an article on Jane. I sent out emails to each of the interviewees with a few days in between to respond. After a few days of an interviewee not responding to my request, I moved on by sending another email with another individual. This was an effective way to get interviews, however, we must acknowledge it is no guarantee.


It was unfortunate that none of my interviewees replied, and a bit disappointing that the preparation wouldn’t be applied. In these situations, I suggest understanding why this might have happened. In my case, the popularity and talk about my eminent person dated a while back. The articles about Jane were written in the early 2000s, therefore, I would say authors and managers at Jane’s foundation are focusing their attention elsewhere. This is understandable, as Jane passed away in the early 2000s and haven’t made any significant headlines since then. This only means that there will be less people who are able to receive an interview about her. For the future, it is wise to consider that the people who was once working at one’s foundation may have moved on, and thus, hold a different email address. They still have significantly valuable information and knowledge about the chosen person; however, it would be difficult to reach them using their old email address. One of my interviewees had an email address under @thecenterforthelivingcity.org which is the foundations name. It would be good to search for other forms of contact and other addresses under the interviewee’s name. You may look for one’s LinkedIn page, Facebook page, and even Twitter pages, all appropriate sites to effectively get in touch and likely platforms one checks on a frequent basis.

– Hanson