Recently, I went on my first interview “outing” for my Print News Writing Class with my assigned partner, DeAnna. Our goal for the assignment was to interview people in the city where my university is located, which is in Searcy, Arkansas, and familiarize ourselves with the locals viewpoints on Harding and Searcy.
While navigating our way through various businesses such as Taco Bell, Starbucks, Bath and Body Works, and Waffle house, as well as staying on the hunt for some natives of Searcy, we finally found non-commuter, non-college student locals.
DeAnna and I first struck luck while interviewing Samantha at Taco Bell. We met and interviewed Samantha, and she answered all of our questions. She knows about Harding but does not feel as if the Harding Students understand her and backs that up with this statement, “Most of the Harding Students I’ve ever met have been more proper, and put together, not as tattooed and pierced as I am. I’m a little different.” As for Harding’s role in the community, she believes that the university brings more tourists, and business to the town, which is helpful and appreciated at Taco Bell. Samantha recognizes that Harding plays a huge part in the community from an economic side, especially because when business is dead, hours are cut. She knows that traffic of Harding is beneficial not only to Taco Bell, but other establishments as well. As for the last university related question, which is whether or not the local has read The Bison, Samantha informs us that she has not, which is because she doesn’t know what it is.
Samantha also gives us her thoughts and opinions on the Searcy community. We asked her if Searcy has a community spirit, to which she replied, “In bad times when Malik was missing, yes, but in other times, not really.” Samantha also goes on to inform us that the people of Searcy are difficult and cold, and that they are not generally friendly. In our next question about the local newspapers effectiveness in covering important topics, she believes that the newspaper does their part towards covering issues and problems of significance. However, she again reinstates her beliefs of the Searcy community towards the attitude and spirit of the locals by saying that they are stubborn, even when the local newspaper tries bring the community together. Tying in with news, the television, is the source of news that attracts Samantha the most. Mostly because of the convenience of being at home when the television news is on is what attracts her.
Overall, I was pleased with our interview. I wish I could’ve talked with Samantha and gotten to know more of her reasons behind her answers, but hopefully I will run into her again at Taco Bell. This assignment definitely inspired me to reach out to my neighbors, the locals, in this city. I hope that Harding and Searcy will become more integrated, and that the Harding Community and the Searcy community will come to understand one another on a more meaningful and genuine level.