Interviewing: What’s good? Lara Logan’s “60 Minutes” on Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold is one of the world’s best free solo rock climber. That means he climbs without any ropes. He climbs thousands of feet with no “safety net.” Lara Logan did a “60 Minutes” report on Alex at the beginning of October. As an interviewer she did well. She covered all of the bases and talked to the right people. She took the time to speak to Alex in the studio, in his home climbing gym where he learned to climb, in his home/van, and outside before and after he free soloed a new climb for the first time in history. One thing Lara did well is her research. She had a clear understanding of the technical climbing terms and used them appropriately. She found an old famous climber to interview and ask about the logistics of what Alex was doing the day he did his climb. It isn’t easy to immerse yourself into a culture if you have never been apart of it. This is something I found, as a climber, that Lara Logan may have had trouble with. While it is true she understood the terms and the exceptional feats that ensued, she really only understood them from the eyes of a spectator. To a person who knows what climbing is like, who knows just how hard the things Alex was doing, and the fact that he was doing these incredible things without any ropes, can only be felt with true experience. Now, I am not saying that she did a bad interview because she isn’t a climber. That is preposterous. If you excepted every reporter to be experienced in what they were reporting…well you’d need a heck of a lot of reporters. What she could have done is give climbing a try and experience just how impressive it is. It’s hard to tell if she did or not. Another thing that struck me was the commentary on the actual climbing. I want to make one thing clear to those who see this and don’t climb. Climbing isn’t about supporting your whole weight on just your hands. Your feet and legs are the most valuable assets when it comes to climbing. Your hands hold you close to the wall and help your legs as you push yourself up. At one point Logan says “he is supporting all his weight on just four fingers.” This is wrong. He is supporting all his weight on that hand as well as both of his legs. There are simple things like this that bother me about this interview. Besides these small errors Logan did a good interview. She was clear and concise with her questions. The questions were well researched and for the most part did not seem forced. She did not seem constantly awestruck while at the same time exhibited awe at this spectacle. She may have been able to do more research or she may not have had the chance. Overall this is a good interview.

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