When writing articles that rely on individuals’ opinions about a situation, event or service, make sure you interview and quote more than one person.
Let’s say you are writing a story about college students who are participating in a volunteer program to provide health care in Central America. Make sure you interview multiple students to get their perspectives on why they are volunteers in the program.
Be sure to also quote several different students in the story, not just one. In situations where they agree, you can write “the students” said they look forward to experiencing life in another country.
But also make sure you quote several students separately so your readers can learn the variety of perspectives offered by them. One student may have volunteered because of his aspirations to become a doctor, while another student may be involved because she wants travel the globe.
An exception to this would be if you are doing a feature story on one specific person in the program. In that case, the focus of your story would be on the individual rather than the volunteer program. And that would be a totally different approach to the story.
Susan Cormier is the co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).