Connect to the Local Community with VOX POP Journalism

“Your Community, Your Voice”

  CSC/Plan Vermont – VOX POP Project

What are we doing?

We are going out into the community to gather data about what local people want their community to look like a decade from now.  We will be acting as social researchers gathering critical information for the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission.  Our goal is to collect multiple and diverse points of view from a broad range of people.


Why are we doing this?

  • The Regional Plan will have a profound impact on what YOUR COMMUNITY looks like and this project will help you better understand the process.

  • This project will give you the opportunity to raise YOUR VOICE about the future of your community.

  • This project will help you develop the skills required to COMMUNICATE  and COLLABORATE effectively.

  • This project will help you develop the skills required to CREATE high quality media products that serve a specific purpose.

  • This project will help you CONNECT to your local community.


What are the specific things I need to do?

Step One – Prepare for the interviews

  • Learn how to capture high quality audio and/or video

  • Learn how to approach people and conduct an effective VOX POP interview


Step Two – Conduct and critique the interviews

  • Conduct at least 3-5 interviews with a diverse group of people

  • Diversity includes: age, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, careers, etc.

  • You may interview your parents, but you must also interview at least one stranger

  • Critique the audio or video you captured and conduct additional VOX POP interviews if needed


Step Three –  Combine the interviews and share online

  • Combine your recordings into a final VOX POP video

  • Upload your video to Youtube and share your work with the CVRPC



  • You may work with a partner, but the number of minimum interviews doubles to 6-10

  • Yes, this may be difficult or uncomfortable for some of you, but remember – “You cannot have brave without scared”  ― Linda Urban, Hound Dog True

  • Never share your last name, home address, or any other personal information with any strangers

  • Only approach strangers in public, well-lit locations.  Always have a friend with you.

  • You will be responsible for managing your audio clips.  You may use a flash drive or Google Drive – those are your only choices.

  • You will be responsible for finding a way to capture high-quality audio.  If you do not have a recording device, you may borrow one from the library or from the History Department.

  • The recommended iOS App ‘Griffin iTalk’.  It is free and it works very well.  You can use Griffin Sync software to transfer your audio clips quickly from your iOS device to a computer (

  • Make sure your device does not ‘time out’ or go to ‘sleep mode’

  • Make sure you know where the microphone is located on your device.

  • Make sure you either reduce background noise or use a unidirectional microphone (your iPhone earbuds work great for this)


How will I show what I can do?









Class Participation and Willingness to Learn (50%)

– Learn how to capture high quality audio/video

– Learn how to conduct an interview

– Learn how to critique audio/video

– Learn how to edit media

– Learn how to share video on Youtube

Quantity and Quality of the VOX POP Recordings (50%)

– Conduct at least 3-5 recordings

– Create high quality audio/video recordings

– Interview diverse people

– Meet all requirements


Extension/Extra Credit Opportunities:

  • Participate as a youth member on the CVRPC board

  • Create an infographic about the Regional Planning Process

  • Deliver the Regional Priorities Survey to a large group of people

  • Capture video as well as audio

  • Other?


How to Conduct an Interview

  • Approach the person and say something like:


“Hello, my name is Matt.  My High School Civics class at Harwood Union High School is working on a project to gain a better understanding of what local people want their community to look like 10 years from now.  Would you be willing to answer a quick question for us?

Great, thanks.  I’m using my headphones as a microphone to reduce background noise.”


<Start Recording>


  • Ask your one good question (see questions below)

  • Resist the urge to talk and let there be a moment of silence.  The person may say more.

  • At this point, either ask a follow-up question or say “thank you”

  • When you are done with the interview, be sure to get permission and demographic data


Ask You Mandatory Questions

“We are collecting data for the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission.  Is it okay if we share your thoughts with them on Youtube?”  (You may need to explain what the CVRPC is)


If they still seem open to more questions, then ask the following…


“Would you be willing to tell us your age and the town you live in?”


“How long you have lived in Central Vermont?”


“Do you have any special connections to your community?”


Plan Central Vermont – Oct. 2013
Draft Creating Sustainable Communities VOX-POP Interview Questions

CVRPC is seeking input from a broad range of community members and the interviewee can be from any Town or City within the region.  It would be interesting to get input from a range of age groups, from community leaders or volunteers, from a recent college graduate or someone who just retired, from a small business owner or someone who works for a large company, as a few examples.

It would also be helpful to get some basic background info like what Town they live in, how long they’ve lived there, their age if they’re willing to share and maybe any connections they have to the community.

Example questions:


What do you think is the best thing about Central Vermont?

What’s most important to you about why you live here?  What made you decide to move here?

What is your favorite place to go here?  What do you like about that place?

What changes have you seen since they’ve lived here?

What changes do you like, what changes do you dislike?

What do you wish would change?

Do you have any interesting stories about Central Vermont? Or a place within Central Vermont?

What is it about your local community you are most proud of?

Specific to Economy and Development

What type of job do you have?

Why do you think people leave Central Vermont?

What do you think selling points would be to encourage a young person to stay in Central Vermont?

If you grew up here, where did your parents work 30-40-50 years ago?

How have the downtowns changed?

How have the smaller villages changed?

What is the most important thing we can do to ensure we grow sustainably?

What do you think are the biggest strengths of the Central Vermont economy?

What are your biggest concerns for the economy in Central Vermont?