I’m glad that I decided to take the afternoon off in order to get the A/V end of things prepared for Amy Goodman’s talk this evening, and my interview with her just before that.

Amy arrived around 4:00 PM with two companions, Dennis and Chuck, who are keeping close attention on logistics and details. She seemed tired, as her book tour has apparently been non-stop, with her still co-hosting Democracy Now in the morning from her remote locations.

They took a short tour of our IMC and caught dinner before coming over to WEFT for the interview. There were a couple of people waiting to meet Amy for a few moments before mediageek. One guy was a guest on DN several months back when she covered a local “non-profit” hospital’s bill collecting practices — this gentlemen had been arrested, having a lien placed against his person, due to medical debt. The hospital has since said they’ve discontinuing the practice.

The interview felt like it went very quickly. Amy is very well-spoken and articulate, so it was not a hard interview. I told Drew, my producer, after the interview was over that the technique to use with such practiced subjects is to ask your best question first, because you may not get many more questions in.

This was certainly the case. My best question was to ask Amy how she got into doing journalism, since I’d been unable to find a bio on her that mentioned anything much earlier than her start on Democracy Now back in 1996. She answered the question quite completely — you can listen to the answer yourself in a day or so when I post the audio file.

Beyond that I think we only asked about two or three more questions and the half -hour was over, and we had 15 minutes to get to where she would be doing her talk and book signing.

We had a full house of about 200 people. The event started with a well-done 1/2 hour video the DN co-produced with the Hudson-Mohawk IMC called “Independent Media in Times of War.” I think this gave Amy another few minutes to rest and store up some energy. She then gave an hour-long talk, spanning a lot of events and anecdotes that are in her new book, but with an added touch of humor and verve.

I’m amazed at how absolutely rapt and attentive the audience was for the hour. Amy Goodman really touches people with the journalism she does, and her commitment, sincerity and empathy really come across. I’d guess that about 2/3 of people stayed for the signing. A local independent bookseller was there to help folks who didn’t already have the book. At the end of the night they’d sold about 120 copies, which Amy said was highest ratio of attendance to book sales she’s seen so far.

By about 9:30 we were cleaned up and Amy and company were on their way to Yellow Springs, OH, so she could give the commencement address tomorrow morning at Antioch College. I wonder how much sleep any of them get.

I’ve got pictures and audio of the talk that I’ll make available at the U-C IMC website and cross-post here.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to help host Amy and have her on the show. She and the Democracy Now team have really tapped into a deep need in the American media environment, and yet they are so supportive of community and grassroots media. Amy seemed truly pleased to visit WEFT and the IMC and see the media institutions that my local community has built.

I end the evening feeling inspired and happy to be a part of a growing movement of grassroots media.