A double-breasted suit. A full beard - a graying one at that. One needs but a glance to see that he has a taste for the old-fashioned.
Despite being a few decades behind in style, Jim Motavalli, editor of E: The Environmental Magazine, is a leader in the field of environmental news.
Motavalli came to Fairfield's Environmental Reporting Class Thursday with advice on interviewing and encouraged student reporters to take a step back from the high-tech.
"Treat it as a conversation," said Motavalli.
He advised students against the now common practice of interviewing with prepared questions.
Calling himself an "improvisational interviewer," he encouraged students to base questions on responses, allowing interviews to go off on unexpected tangents.
He believes that prepared questions prevent reporters from getting into the heart of a story since they do not allow for unanticipated responses.
In the spirit of continuing the flow of learning more information, Motavalli tries to end his interviews with the question: "Who else should I talk to?"
However, his message may be lost in today's tech-heavy society.
With a tone of regret, he said that too many of today's young writers have replaced the interview with a quick search on Google and referred to the interview as a "lost art."
The tape recorder, another commonly used tool in journalism today, is one technology Motavalli prefers to do without.
Motavalli said that by giving up the tape recorder, it forced him to "notice things" during the interview.
Most of what is said is unusable anyway, said Motavalli, who would rather not spend time playing a recording over and over in order to transcribe a quote. He prefers instead to take his trusty paper notebook for jotting down interesting information.