Simitless helps journalists organize their interviews

Simitless helps journalists organize their interviews
Simitless helps journalists organize their interviews

App 52/60: Interview Log

Simitless helps journalists organize their interviews

The exceptionally curious journalist that you are, you have learned to never give up on a story, especially when you know that following this very promising lead can provide you with the most intriguing answers to the questions you have been diligently noting down in one of the multitudes of notepads you keep scattered all over your desk (which notepad was it again, though…). So what that it can take you days, weeks, even months to finish your research (just don’t forget the one critical notepad that has all the details… which one was it again?)? After all, this is how the most interesting, deep and, if you are lucky, controversial articles are written. Indeed, your work desk is a downright treasure trove of data and information: your notebooks are bursting with questions, conjectures, and ideas, your notepads are overflowing with painstakingly conducted research, the random stacks of loose sheets are filled with shorthand notation from the latest interviews. You are literally (and, in a way, metaphorically) buried in articles and books. If only you didn't have to carry this cornucopia of information and data with you whenever you are out for another meeting, interview, or… a stakeout. How much easier would your life as a journalist be if you could only have a centralized database of all your interview materials that you could query anytime and from anywhere by means of keywords!.. A dream, a paradise, one might think. But a dream it does not have to remain, thanks to Simitless.

For Simitless – the creator of tailor-made information systems – the situation above is a simple use case. In fact, these kinds of use cases are what the Simitless platform excels at. And more than anything, we would be very happy to show and help you set up your own app to make your dream of a centralized database a reality. And since we understand that the first steps, especially on unknown terrain, are the most difficult ones, we are not going to just throw you into cold water. We are going to take you by the hand and assist you all the way towards your perfectly set-up database. Let’s start your journey towards your application for organizing interview notes by having a look at the said application’s model.

Consult the application model, then click the " Use this model" button to create your copy of the app. Simitless is a system that adapts to your needs. Plus, it is risk-free. To save your progress, think of creating an account by following the instructions on the green buttons! Once your application has been created from the model provided, invite all your colleagues to join the application by creating a Simitless account ( Edit app Access rights). Rest assured, the safety of your data is one of our primary concerns. Thus, your data is not just stored securely, Simitless has put in place a reinforced backup policy and has given you full control over who has access to your data that you can configure directly from your app’s settings.

Now that the bare-bones structure of your app is in place, let’s look at how you can populate your app with data. Since you start preparing your interviews well in advance, for each such interview, create a record and add the name (or an alias) of your interlocutor. If your interlocutor is ok with that, go ahead and add their email address and phone number to be able to contact them again later. Then add the interview subject, the interview date and time. Although we have chosen to keep the structure of this application simple, it does not mean that the structure we have just presented is the limit of Simitless’ capabilities, far from it. At any time, you can choose to modify the app by adding a record per person. Not only does it not pose any problem for the Simitless platform to accommodate such a modification, but it might also make it easier for you to group your interviews by an interlocutor. Drop us a line if this is something you would like to consider, or if you want to add another customization to your application but are unsure about how to proceed.

Once the core of your record is in place, you can start adding preparative notes that will help guide you during the interview. You can take notes right in the app itself as well, but we think that it might not necessarily be the most efficient way to proceed. Any active interaction with an electronic device during an interview might feel distracting, as if creating "virtual" barriers between you and your interviewee. The easiest way is to have a small discreet voice recorder (keep in mind though, that the device should not be kept hidden and in no way should it be kept from the interviewee that you are going to record your conversation, as it is more often than not illegal!). Thus, with such a device at your disposal, you’d be able to transcribe the conversation later. By the way, Simitless’ development roadmap has the integration of a "digital voice recorder" functionality as one of the key features to be added to the platform. If you want to know more about the Simitless’ development roadmap and, most importantly, wish for faster integration of this feature, drop us a line.

Once you are done with your interview and are in the safety of your own home, you have all the time in the world (or, at least, all the time that your editor is happy to give you) to fill in the interview summary fields, to single out on the key takeaways and, finally, to decide upon the succeeding steps, to specify the tasks to be done and to determine which leads are worth pursing. By the way, if you want to add a field in your record to save the audio file or the transcript of your discussion, use the settings menu of your application: Edit App Edit Data Types.

Et voilà. With this small and simple, yet powerful and flexible interview management application, you can get started on your interview database app in almost no time and with a minimum amount of effort. And you can go on improving and modifying your app even further by adding individual information fields to records or even entire sections of new information fields. For example, you can add a contacts management structure aimed at mapping out the connections between your contacts; or, you can add a storage folder for files collected during your investigation.

Regardless of where your investigation takes you, believe us when we say that we rely on people like you to show us how behind-the-scenes actually operate. We can’t wait to read another one of your articles. Until then, take care and good luck!

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