My Journalistic View of BTS interview with Sakshma Srivastav | My Ambling Take!

BTS happens to be my first K-Pop boysband group. They are incredible to watch and when they are interviewed! They are wow! Even when they are given questions which are extremely difficult to answer without discomfort, they would shine bright. But it hurts to watch, whoever the artists maybe, when they are asked too personal questions and it is endearing to watch them brave it but I prefer the ethics of reporting should not cross the boundaries of human decency.

I love to interview people and I do not mind who it is either, but within the limits of decorum and humanism. In my journalism reporting class back in 2001, I got a class assignment to report on Chitrakulam Temple tank’s current condition.

So, armed with my notepad and I go interviewed people in Tamil and English based on whichever language the interviewees were comfortable. I interviewed a corporation worker in Tamil since that was what he understood. I talked to the commoners’ views and one council member for the Temple tank cleaning and filling water in front of Kapaleshewar Temple in Mylapore. At the end of two or three days, I collected so many interviews and sat down to write the report.

Chitrakulam tank had dried up in the high summer of June 2001 leaving the bottom of the tank showing unkempt and littered with plastic bottles. I genuinely felt the need to report it well. I meticulously collated the interviews and generating an opinion report. Sadly, I had misunderstood reporting which I would later realize in the class review. I wrote it like a feature writing.

Back in the class, Vincent D’Souza my reporting teacher smashed my article, until I was trying to hold in my tears in my eyes from his fury and my classmates pity. I had also got one of the street name wrong which he took greatest exception to. Vincent sir was not a bad person; but an excellent and seasoned passionate journalist cum Editor! I learned a lot from that strict Editor of Mylapore Times.

Newspaper or Media are not meant to be easy on your emotions. Reporting is about hold your emotion together and report truth as it is. Fact-checking and cross-referencing is true reporting and they become the heart of journalism. To get to the truth of News report is good reporting industry practices.

In 2010, I had applied for MFA in Writing at CCA California, US. Since my Toefl (Test of English as a Foreign Language) iBT score was 99 out of 120. In the first iBT in US I got a 94 which was not sufficient, so I retook the test in Chennai November the same year. It was still not sufficient. (Lol!)

But in both tests, I loved and enjoyed myself in the Writing testing section in which you had to write an essay on the given topic. My second test essay was such a stunner since I loved the topic so much that I got the highest score on that section. In both tests, I was the first to finish my test and walk out of the testing centers feeling guilty to recklessly finishing first before others.

Since I was one mark short of 100, required score, I was asked to take ESL classes in summer before the Fall and Spring semesters. Grace Remy our trios’ ESL coordinator gave us a task of interviewing three people around the campus or anywhere and make an opinion interview report on Art and its influence in the interviewee’s life.

So, the next morning I arrived at the main campus around 7 am and sat around near the college watching the people trying to pick one of them for an interview with me and I would politely stop strangers to ask them if they would like to be interviewed by me. I would ask them about Art and its influence in their life. Californians are really open-minded people and polite.

I got so interested in the task since I love interviewing, that soon, the number of people who volunteered to answer my questions increased and of course, there were some who were in rush to go to work refusing me. I had prepared six questions and I made shorthand copies of their responses and I submitted the longest interview report in the class of three.

My fellow International students were Chinese. Bo Cao and April He; the young gentleman was enrolled in bachelors program in architecture and April my roommate was in the Master’s Design program and I was the oldest Ahjumma in the group in MFA! I loved working as a team with them too. Grace was extremely impressed with my 10 opinion interviews that I had done, but I felt the interview was just passé.

K Ramakrishnan sir would have something to say about the structure and Vincent sir would have fired me on the spot for not being factual but all too emotional. Each question that I asked, and some were based on response I heard from them. According to me, Art cannot be separated from the emotion. But you do not have to be super emotional. Unfortunately, my report was a little overly emotional. (sigh!)

I wanted to pick one artist and have an in-depth interview with that person on the topic of art and their definition of it. But then, given the many strangers that I stop to interview, some of course were students hanging out having a coffee break at the A2 Cafe from their artwork, they gave me such in-depth insights. Interviewing is a two-way road and best outcome is when there is empathy in both the interviewee and the interviewer.

So, enough of my loving passion for interviewing interests. What I wish to say is that I love to amble along and make my interviewee comfortable and leave them the choice of answering or passing a question. But all my interviewee were happy to answer my preset six questions without any discomfort. Achieving that is extremely difficult given people are different and artists are more cranky to open up.    

BTS Interview and Excellent Teamwork by Both Sides, Kudos Guys!

But then hats off for the entire group of the interviewer and the interviewees set for having broken the ice of the first meeting and excellent angle to each question and wonderful answers given by each individual member. Their response in Korean was magical.

I tell you Korean is such a wonderful language thanks to all the KDramas! I found the members’ Korean enunciation were different and this time I could make out each member individually being different from each other; yet represented themselves as a single unit that worked seamlessly! Kudos BTS!

Here is the Interview which was for 18 minutes and do watch in the YouTube Channel:  

Titled: BTS ft. Sakshma Srivastav | Indian Interview | E NOW | Exclusive

Kudos on the questions; but then, there is still room for improving. This is not intended as a critic, just a feeling from all the reporting class lessons. For the first time, I am seeing an Interview of BTS that is slightly balanced and focused about their music and emotion behind the lyrics. BTS being comfortable during the interview was seen in their body language. This is a little tricky since the body language that I can interpret is based on my understanding. Sometimes it is missed or confused in the difference in our cultures. It is a given that they are all handsome grounded celebrities who enjoy their profession and are passionate about it.

Sakshma kudos to your skills in interviewing while balancing the cheer of being a fan-girl of BTS. The first thing that I loved was that the questions were translated in Korean for the Interviewees. They could respond in Korean instead of making RM translate hard English questions for BTS. This does not mean that that they do not understand English, it is a level of comfort that is most important! True respect! The questions were explained and not curt snorty questions. Not speaking the English language should not be a limitation to expression and I believe the best thoughts appear in one’s own mother-tongue. Making the invited interviewees to feel comfortable in their choice of language shows good hostship! Kudos there Sakshma and team.

When I found them responding in Korean, I was jumping happily in my chair clapping my hands in merriment! RM kudos for holding the international standard of professionalism and responding in English, you rock in your ESL too! Usually, Suga is most uncomfortable and a little distracted when interviewed; but in this interview he remained alert. I would have loved to explore some more talk about music production (meaning writing their songs) by individual members.

RM and Jin kept the balance together, while Suga gave off vibes of relaxed calmness, Jimin and J-Hope were cool bright sunshine while V and Jungkook was surprisingly well-behaved, but maybe slightly happy doing their handshake stuff in the end of the interview.

Jimin, V and Jungkook as younger members seemed a little unsure and slightly nervous but when it was their turn to respond their thoughts were beautifully expressed. V and Jungkook were a lot more conscious than other members. V was as cute as ever, in his shy response. I honestly do not know how to break that barrier of feeling self-conscious of the two young members. It is like taking photo of babies who are usually unpredictable and volatile. I think V and Kookie needed more time to bring out a naturalness in their conversation.

But initially the entire group were super nervous, but then, edits of video show them as cutting into ease of comfort in their interview zone, proving they were professionals. I think it was achieved with empathy on both sides. Wonderfully done by the team, behind camera and all department of production of the video.

I had multiple questions! Are they comfortable writing lyrics in Korean or English? How was their experience of writing English lyrics, so far and after “Dynamite?” Do they write as a team? Are their lyrics for various parts taken over by each member? How does it work for them?

Or as they involved in the composite whole work from writing the songs, to setting musical score, then choregraphing, recording the song and eventually performance for the video, do they feel stressed out while meeting personal standards and expectation from Army? Of course, if after work such as marketing and packaging their works tiring for them?

Jimin who is also a good dancer should have been asked about how the group achieved such smooth moves and coordination? I think it is a question for the whole team. But I also liked the question Jimin was asked in the interview.

But these questions are too close to their professional secrets or screened out question, I do not know, but then, I would have loved to know them as humans in the profession where they take the bite of the profession with ease and comfort that, they almost seem like heroes of real-life. The music ‘stuffs they do as their own thing’ are catching on to the imagination of the youth and aging groups too love them world over. Kudos Team BTS!

RM was honest when he did not try to paint a rosy picture of the making of songs and performing them. But he did not make it an overemotional response either; but made it sound professional requirements that the group as a unit achieved together.

J-Hope and Jin were such a sunshine on the set with their charming smiles. They shined with such ease that I felt I could ask them how they felt being responsible to take charge of the younger members. Because the elder group members take responsibility for the younger ones as family which is so endearing to know.

Of course, groups always push each others’ buttons of tolerance and get into strife (lol!). But the group kept the communication open and working out their kinks of differences over the years, how was that achieved would make an interesting question too!

The level of their comfort with each other can be seen when J-Hope broke into laughter when Jungkook paused before continuing his response to his question. He is the youngest and is a charm to all his Hyungs. Yeah V and Jimin too! But Jungkook is a baby chick and it is different to see him all grown up now for the Hyungs. So, that brotherly affection was in the warm laughter of J-Hope and the others. I saw it that way. But yes Jungkook was a little side tracked by his own thoughts that he lost track of his response. It is just like him. The fact that interviews makes him self-conscious and edgy.

I loved the interview so much that am thankful, [감사합니다 (gamsahabnida)] Team E-Now and BTS. There were great coordination in the interview. Enjoyed myself listening to the response and interaction. Good luck to both the Teams!


E Now Entertainment Zoom YouTube Channel.