July 2017…Healthy NewsWorks trains its student reporters to be prepared and professional for all their interviews. Philadelphia City Representative Sheila Hess took notice when she was interviewed recently by the Healthy News student reporters at La Salle Academy.
As one of several people interviewed during the 2016-17 school year for a Healthy NewsWorks story on resilience, Ms. Hess told the reporters how she has dealt with spina bifida. She said she strives to always look at the bright side of things and maintain a positive attitude.
Reflecting on the interview, Ms. Hess said she was moved by the earnestness of the student reporters.
“I was just very impressed with how deep they were with their questions at such a young age and they seemed genuinely interested in my well-being,” she said. “They wanted to get to know me as a person and not just as an interviewee.”
Ms. Hess added that the professionalism of the students was on par with her interviews with adult reporters.
“They came up with questions that the everyday reporters do,” she said, explaining that she was surprised by their organization. “In my mind-set, I answered the questions as if they were a real journalist who gets paid for this. They made me feel the same as a regular reporter did.”
When asked about interview moments that stood out to her, Ms. Hess listed a moment that came at the end of the interview.
“[T]hey all lined up to give me a hug and to take a picture with me and I gave one person my business card and then they all wanted a business card and they all wanted me to sign my business card,” she said. “And one kid said he was going to put it in his room or something … again, it was that warm embrace that the children had.”
That moment left a big impression on Ms. Hess. “I felt really, really good when I left that classroom,” she said. “The hugs I was getting at the end and the smiles on their faces—it was contagious.”
—By Zubin Hill