Robin Roberts Interviews Amanda Berry and Gina de Jesus

A month or so ago my first assignment for my interviewing class was to analyze an interview based on what we had studied thus far in our text.  Creative Interviewing: The Writer’s Guide to Gathering Information by Asking Questions by Ken Metzler is the book we are studying.  Below is my report which I was happy to receive an A on.

The interview that I chose to report on is one from ABC News that was done by Robin Roberts for 20/20 just a few weeks ago.  This exclusive interview features Robin speaking with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.  Both of which, along with Michelle Knight, were held captive for ten years by Ariel Castro in his home in Cleveland, Ohio.  The program entitled “Captive – A Journey of Hope and Survival”, features both girls describing to Robin Roberts the events surrounding both their kidnap and various events that went on during their captivity.  Everything from watching their story unfold on television while held prisoner, the birth of a child, and the day they finally escaped.

Robin uses a very similar style to the flow of interview that is described in Metzler’s text.  He says, “The best interviewers will guide the opening small talk into the first serious questions so smoothly that the transition is barely noticed.” (Page 20). Roberts does this beautifully with both women.  For each of them she begins with asking about what they were like before their abduction at the ages of 17 (Berry), and 14 (DeJesus).  Both women reply with smiles and are happy to talk about their childhoods.  Soon after, the serious questions begin when Robin starts asking about the day that they were kidnapped. Next, about the inappropriate behavior and gestures that Ariel Castro made towards them.  The girls immediately become emotional.  Roberts shows the utmost compassion and understanding.  At one point she even asked DeJesus if she is comfortable speaking about specific incidents, to which DeJesus replies that she is not yet comfortable answering.

We learn a lot about what happened including a surprising detail of a phone call that Castro made from Amanda Berry’s cell phone just days after her disappearance.  This brings about a question that I don’t recall hearing discussed that I would have asked.  Why did authorities never come and search Castro’s house after this phone call?  It seems that the phone call appeared to be a hoax to the authorities.  Police did go to the area that the signal of the phone was found, but nothing was moved forward and the phone no longer was reachable.

There were two poignant questions that stuck out to me during this interview.  Roberts asks Amanda Berry about people that she saw on television during her captivity that helped her keep hope.  One of the people Berry mentions is Robin Roberts herself.  Amanda mentions seeing Robin in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Both become quite emotional as they discuss that “you never know who is watching.”  You never really know who you might be helping by being a beacon of hope.

The final “bombshell” question and the final question of the interview was, “Can you forgive him?”  DeJesus replies, “I think you have to forgive in order to move on.”  Berry says that she will never be able to forgive him because in her eyes Castro took her entire life away for ten years.  Her mother passed during her captivity which he blames him for.

The interview did end on happy thoughts as both DeJesus and Berry discuss with Roberts what their lives are like now that they are free.  Both seem happy and are continuing to build the lives that were taken from them for so many years.

This was a beautiful program.  For more about this story, you can find the program on ABC’s website.  DeJesus and Berry have also written a book entitled “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland”.

Wife of fallen Montgomery police officer responds to backlash

By: Caleb Graham

MONTGOMERY, AL Just over two months after the death of her husband, Darian Colley of Eclectic, AL, speaks about coping with her loss, plans for the future, her husband’s legacy, and other topics including the media backlash to news of a wrongful death suit that was filed in May.

Darian Colley stands in front of her newly landscaped home in Eclectic, AL. Landscaping was completed recently by the Montgomery Police Department based on original plans by Colley’s husband David.

Darian Colley, 22, was unable to say much about the open lawsuit itself, but she did comment on the negative criticism she has received in news and social media outlets.

“The media has done a good job of trashing my name,” she said.

She named specifically WSFA, which was the primary source for the lawsuit information obtained in preparation for this story.  She said, “WSFA didn’t have their story straight.”

On the morning of April 4, 2015, Darian Colley’s husband, a 24-year-old Montgomery police officer named David Colley, was killed when an 18-wheeler truck collided with his patrol car while responding to a call.

A WSFA article published on May 29, 2015, reported the accident had brought the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit by Darian Colley’s attorney Jere Beasley.  “The suit is aimed at the city of Montgomery, the 18-wheeler driver [Yasin Steven-Conley James], and the trucking company [TUI Express] that owned the 18-wheeler,” the article read.

When asked, Colley said the lawsuit is not “aimed at the city of Montgomery” but she is merely seeking the worker’s compensation benefits due to the fact that Officer Colley was working when the fatality occurred.

Colley said she was unable to log on to social media for a time because things that were being said in response to the WSFA story were hurtful.  According to Colley, claims were made that she was pregnant, had no job, and was money-hungry.

“It hurt really bad,” she said.  “I’m definitely not that type of person.”

“People are always gonna talk about you, regardless if you’re doing good or if you’re not,” she added.

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Darian Colley, 22, and 18-month-old daughter Isabella at a Memorial Day event where her husband David Colley was honored by the Montgomery Police Department. Photo courtesy of Darian Colley

Colley is using her strong Christian faith to get her through and doing her best to move on from this tragedy while trying to make the best life possible for herself and her 18-month-old daughter Isabella, she said.

As a recent graduate from Troy University’s Montgomery campus, she is hoping to move up from her current position.  Colley works for the Yesac Corp. as a receptionist.

Colley was working on a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business administration when her husband lost his life.  At the time, she said, she wanted to give up with only two classes remaining to graduate.  Now with the degree complete, she is relieved and happy to have finished her work.

“David would’ve wanted that,” she said.

Colley was also honored at her graduation ceremony.  The Trojan News Center reported that “members of the Montgomery Police Department honored a member of the graduating class, presenting Darian Colley, widow of MPD Officer David Colley, with a bouquet of roses.”

The MPD came to support her because her husband could not, she said.

She was also greeted by Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., and the guest speaker, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jocelyn M. Seng.

Next Colley plans to begin work on a master’s degree starting in January.  Beyond that she hopes to pursue a doctorate as well.  Doing this, she hopes to make a stable future and to also be an example of strong will and persistence to her daughter.

She said she wants Isabella to know that “no matter the circumstances in life that you’re faced with, or you’re thrown, because you just never know, that she can push through.”

During the two months since David Colley’s death the support for Darian Colley has been expressed through many memorials and the like honoring her husband.  Much of that support has come from the Montgomery Police Department and the offices of the City Of Montgomery—as well as family, friends, and members of surrounding communities.

“I have an amazing support system!” she said.

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David, Darian, and Isabella Colley Photo Courtesy of Darian Colley

Colley said she wants to be sure that her husband’s legacy lives on.

 

“The legacy is how determined he was and strong and sweet and honest—and he wasn’t perfect, but he was as close to perfect as they come.”

Colley also wants people to know of the faith that both she and her husband share.

“I hope people come to know Jesus because David knew Jesus.”

Aristotle says that “true learning is accompanied by pain.”

The pain she is enduring is showing her strength that she was not aware she possessed, Colley said.

When asked where she hopes to be a year from now her response was “I hope I’ll be OK.  I hope I’m stronger than what I am now.  I hope that I can find happiness again because happiness is really hard to find.”

As a part of David Colley’s legacy, a scholarship fund has been set up in his honor at PrimeSouth Bank.  The scholarship will go to an Elmore County High School graduating senior beginning next year.

 

When preparing this piece I was unable to reach WSFA for comment.

Welcome to GIOTV Online

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Twitter/Instagram @calebgraham Facebook.com/CalebGrahamOfficial

This is GIOTV Online!

Who am I? I am Caleb Graham.  This is a recreation of my former blog “Gray In Oz”  Hence where GIO came from.

I am currently in school online through Troy University to become a broadcast journalist.  I live in Orlando, FL where I work for Disney.

This site is where I will be showcasing all of my work for my classes as well as some other stories or topics that I choose to write or discuss about outside of class.

In short, this site will be where I become a journalist.  I invite you all to go on this journey with me as I learn, discover, and create on my way to hopeful success. Let’s have some fun!

Caleb