Behind This Story

Noah Glick produced this story for the Mountain West News Bureau as part of the America Amplified: Election 2020 initiative, using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism.

America Amplified is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. You can follow America Amplified on Twitter @amplified2020.

Read more about what Glick learned in this Q&A:

Q: What did the people you talked to say about the experience of being interviewed for public radio?
The seniors I spoke with were just happy to talk in general. With all that is going on with COVID-19, these people wanted someone to talk to -- and they were very happy to share their experiences. They all were a little confused about what I wanted at first, but after explaining that I only wanted to listen to what they had to say, they were more than happy to help.

Q: What surprised you about this type of community engagement?
The stories I'm able to hear from people are always surprising. One person I spoke with, Mel, lost her brother recently and couldn't have a funeral because of COVID-19. Those are the kinds of stories I don't typically hear when asking the usual questions from usual sources.

Q: What lessons do you have for others who want to do the same?
Be patient. Go in with no expectations and be ready to truly listen. Let the conversation go where it will go and follow your instincts. Be curious and open. Share some of your own experience when it makes sense.

Q: Do you plan to go back to this group for more conversations? When and how? Possibly. I'd love to check in periodically to see how things are going, especially once stay-at-home orders are lifted and we get back to a more "normal" course of life.