As I Am with Helen Zia, 2008
The traditional journalistic interview involves a reporter and an interview subject. But, journalists are generalists by trade, while most people are specialists. Journalistic interviews can be understood by a broad audience. But, they are also inherently superficial because the journalist is not as “invested” in the subject as the interviewee. The journalist also doesn’t expect to maintain a relationship with the circle of experts and build social capital.
In 2008, I co-produced a radio program for Asian Americans called As I Am with Helen Zia. The show allowed me to try peer interviewing between two novelists. It also gave me an avenue to integrate art and journalism through poetry and first person narrative. The result is a thoughtful, honest, truthful examination of the concept of “home” for Asian Americans.
The program won a national Gracie Award for “Outstanding Special Program” and was aired by public radio stations nationally in 2008.