My colleague and I were all pumped up when we thought of doing an ‘election special’ coverage. And yes interviewing/ grilling the politicians was amongst the most exciting part of it. We wrapped up most of our other stories and were all geared up to get interview appointments with our MP candidates. Soon we realised it was not as exciting and thrilling as we had imagined as it was hard to get any at the first place.
To start with we somehow managed to get a phone number of a close aide of one of the candidates, and after a few phone calls from me and my editor things looked brighter. We had an early morning interview appointment in hand(this after constant phone calls for 4 days, we were proud of our quick results!). My happiness was though not long lived. A day before the interview I called up to confirm the appointment only to find out that there was no appointment at all. Well, it wasn’t told to me this easily, I got to know this only after some 15 phone calls to the media manager from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm.
As if this was not enough to annoy me, the interview appointment never really took place, even after visiting their office and calling them 20 times more for two weeks. And finally, I got a 10 minutes slot to talk to the man himself when I meet him at a public event. This is still less torturous than waiting for hours in the MP candidate’s vehicle while the candidate was out campaigning and then got some 10 minutes to talk, in which he will continue jumping controversial issues.
The icing on the cake was still visiting a candidate’s office, waiting there for one and half hours only to know that he is unwell and would not meet anyone. The next day you go to his office again, wait there and join him in his campaign, follow in another vehicle for a few hours and then realise the campaign has been called off and there won’t be any interviews because some distant relative of his has died.
The list for these events doesn’t stop here the worse was to have been called for an interview for some three times, not getting to talk in any of the three attempts of long hours of waiting. Then finally we get to talk for six minutes and the person talking is not at all audible(he is so soft spoken, you know!) and eventually the interview ends abruptly due to some ‘unavoidable circumstances’.
Then the fight to get another interiveiw starts all over again. And this fight seems never ending to us. When we have almost given up on our would-be MPs, we come back, somebody asks us: "So, how much time did you waste today?" I say, "I wasted half my day!" "Oh, Just half a day, right," is the reaction. ⊕