Monday, October 06, 2008

Playing the third party

My internship assignment this week (due tomorrow afternoon!) is to conduct 'vox-pops' about how lovers or couples fell into each other's hands. Vox-pops is short for vox populi, the Latin for 'voice of the people.' It is probably one of the basic elements of journalism that puts a human face to a topic. A 'common' person on the street is asked of his or her -or as my assignment calls for it, a couple's- opinions, experience, and thoughts on a subject. In this case, how did they meet for the first time, and who served as cupid for their paths to meet? Was it through a friend of a friend, or through an online social networking site?

This is my second time to do vox pops, the first time being for the CO2 compensation counters in Cologne-Bonn Airport feaure. Yet this time it is doubly difficult because of the 'niche interviewees' I am looking for: young couples. Intervening sweet-talking and smooching love birds is like the epitome of invasion of privacy. I have to keep a keen eye on pairs walking by, and decode the subtlest of intimate gestures as signs of their mutual understanding before I can approach them. My 'couple-detecting' radar failed once though. I approached a 'couple' with a baby in tow, and as I blurted out my spiel, it turned out they are not in a relationship of the romantic sort, but are simply close friends. 'The child is not mine,' asserted the guy as if he wasn't capable of creating one.

I've done four successful interviews, and the most interesting so far is not someone I met by chance. She is the daughter of my current host family, who met his boyfriend in a public viewing area during a European Football Championship game four years ago.

Care to know how the other vox populi interviewees met their better half? Or if I finish this assignment at all? Tune in on Wedenesday to Cool that will include a unique match-making feature.

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