Reflections on Vox Pop

This week we have been looking at vox pops or ‘vox populi’, meaning literally  ‘the voice of the people’. These are in essence a quick glimpse of public opinion.

They are interviews on the street talking informally to members of the public. Asking for their brief opinion on a particular topic. Newspapers use them alongside an article that has been published to gauge their reader’s views.

I chose to conduct my vox pop survey in Hornsea. Recently there has been a lot of debate and discussion on a shop, Countdown. The proprietor started to display fruit and vegetables on the pavement outside his shop. The display is ever-increasing and now includes various groceries. There have been numerous complaints, both in terms of encroaching the pavement space and hygiene issues.

A recent article appeared in The Hull Daily Mail in which Alvin Wilkinson, the proprietor of Countdown claimed he is being victimized because of this.

I went into the centre of Hornsea and asked people what they thought about the display of fruit and vegetables on the pavement in front of Coundtdown. I got a varied response, although the majority of people were against the issue. It was interesting to note that  people from out-of-town, who lived in larger cities thought nothing of it, as they are used to seeing much worse.

I was nervous at first, it is not easy stopping people on the street. However, when I explained exactly what I was doing (not selling anything) people were more than willing to voice their opinions. In fact, many people wanted to talk further, especially concerning other local issues such as the closing of the Minor Injuries Unit at the Hornsea Cottage Hospital. (that could be another vox pop question, although I am sure it would be heavily biased against the closure).

Having recorded the conversations on my phone and managing to take details and a few photos from participants, I set about writing an article. I found this to be the most challenging and time-consuming part of the exercise. My use of Microsoft Word is very limited, as are my typing skills, so I basically had to learn how to manipulate the programme. I looked for an alternative to simplify creating a published article but found nothing suitable.

I enjoyed this exercise and I am pleased with the progress I made. However, I feel a bit disappointed in the finished result. I would have liked to spend more time on design and layout. I am sure that as I progress on the course my presentations will improve.

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