Four down, one to go – in the penultimate instalment of HSC’s America series, Vishal Saha spoke to Hampton alumnus, journalist and former tennis star Adam Hunt OH (2008).
When did you leave Hampton and which US University did you decide go to and why?
I left Hampton in 2008 and decided to attend Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. I had been offered a full tennis scholarship by a few universities in the US, including Mercer, and I chose them because it was the best fit for me in terms of academics and tennis.
Were you happy with your decision to go to this University and how do you think it has affected your career path?
For someone in my position who played sport to a national level and was also focused on academics, the American university system provides the perfect choice to continue my studies. I was able to continue to improve at tennis and represent my university all over the US in team competitions while also earning my degree in journalism and politics.
Can you tell us about how reporting styles / journalism differs in the US to the UK?
There are many similarities but there are several fundamental differences. These include simple stylistic and language choices that journalists make in the two countries, but also the laws governing journalistic practices (libel, freedom of information etc) can be quite different and this affects how reporters go about their daily business. However, despite these differences, I have worked for both British and American TV and radio stations so it is possible to cater to both.
What tips would you give current Hamptonians who are thinking about studying in the USA?
Do your research. The more you know, the easier it is to make a good decision about where to go to university. The system is very different to the British university system. If possible, visit some universities in the US. There is a big difference between how a university appears online to the feel of the place in real life. Budget carefully. Tuition fees and other costs vary massively across each university. Scholarships and financial aid can help with many of these but it is important to understand the costs involved.
When did you start considering a job in journalism? Was this while you were at University?
I have always wanted to be a sports journalist ever since I was at Hampton – as avid readers of The Hampton Sports Chronicle circa 2006-2008 will testify! But it wasn’t until university that I began to focus on broadcasting by getting involved in student TV and radio, which lead to the career I have now.
What do you think the secrets are to a brilliant interview?
Listen. Every good interview is an interesting conversation between subject and interviewer. Don’t just ask one question after another. Instead, try to pick up or build on what the subject says to help them expand on their answers.
Find common ground. People are much more likely to open up in an interview if you can make it feel like a conversation rather than an interrogation.
Try to think beforehand about what the point of the interview is. Are you trying to learn more about a specific subject? Are you trying to learn more about the subject as a person? Are your topics controversial? The more you think about these things beforehand, the easier the interview will be because you will be able to steer the conversation to cover the topics you want. Preparation is everything. I spend roughly an hour researching and preparing for a 5 to 10 minute interview.
The final instalment of HSC’s America series will be posted next Wednesday.