Interview A feature focusing on an individual (or group) that uses their words to tell their story. Evans, M., (2012). Because I’m worth it.
Comment (Also called ‘leader’ or ‘opinion’ pieces) A feature written from the viewpoint of the author reflecting on a significant issue. Evans, M., (2012). Still here.
Selecting your victim interviewee: ‘So What’ – have they got a good story to tell? Are you just pushing their product for them? Do they want to talk to you? Life is often stranger than fiction
PastPresentFuture What? Where? When? How? Who? Why? * Leave “Why” until the end – can sound judgemental
Look the part - be confident and savvy Listen – nod, ‘yes’, eye contact Silence is golden – people love to fill a pause Ask and you’ll get – but avoid lazy questions Devil’s in the detail – take notes, but unobtrusively Smile! But not like a loony
Closed Questions: Have a definite (often short) answer Are useful for warming interview up Give you factual detail BUT Can result in one-word answers = not good copy
Closed Questions How old are you? Where did you grow up? How many singles have you sold? Are you married? Is it right that you live with Rylan?
Open Questions: Will receive more thorough (longer) answers Provide opinions and feelings Give better quotes for your copy BUT Can encourage the interviewee to waffle on
Open Questions: How do you feel about capital punishment? What was your happiest moment? What keeps you awake at night? Describe your ideal date. Why do you love your job?
Don’t forget - it’s all in the asking… Do you watch Strictly Come Dancing? = closed What do you think of this year’s Strictly contestants? = open Should women bishops be ordained? = closed How do you feel about the ordination of women bishops? = open
Open: Introduce yourself and smile Questions – open and closed Toolkit: Who, what, where, how, when, why? Bucket questions: 1) Is there anything else you want to tell me? 2) Anyone else I can talk to? 3) What pictures can I use for my story? 4) Can I call you back if need be? Close: Leave your number and THANK YOU!
Aggressive Don’t be intimidated Be polite Flatter them Don’t lose control Inarticulate/Evasi ve Make questions specific Clarify what they’re saying by repeating it back to them Use silences Be persistent Bigots Be polite and retain self-control Ignore what they say and forget your views Stick to your agenda Damn them in their own words Condescending/S moothies Don’t rise to bait Stay professional Use it to your advantage – play up to them
This is their STORY – let them tell it You are the narrator – guide the story Use observations & anecdotes to colour your piece Write in the third person – it’s not about you (it is clear that; she fidgets nervously; the room speaks volumes…) Consider ending on a strong quote
Three kinds 1. Direct: “I’m a huge fan of naked skydiving,” says Bernard, 76, “although I do have a terrible problem with intimate chafing.” 2. Indirect: Bernard loves naked skydiving, but points out it’s not without risks – not least with regard to intimate chafing. 3. Partial: Bernard has been naked skydiving for many years. He enjoys the sport, but admits he has a “terrible problem” with “intimate chafing”.
Full Quotes – using quotes instead of sentence “This is how you punctuate a full quote,” says Mary, 92, who started her career as a chimney sweep. “All the punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.” She doesn’t like this way of doing it, but if you must, Mary says: “Always put a colon before the quote. This is now a full quote, so full stops go inside the quotation marks.”
Partial Quotes – using quotes as part of the sentence When you use partial quotes “all the punctuation” goes outside the marks. It has been said that “if you get this wrong, somewhere a kitten dies”.
Longer Quotes “Sometimes, for layout or structure, quotes go over one paragraph. “If this happens, you don’t close the quotes at the end of the first par, but you do put new ones at the beginning of the second.”
Who? What section of the readership and which person (ie open letter to the PM) What emotion? What do you feel/think about this? What will your readers think? Why? What point are you trying to make? Giving silent a voice? Raising awareness? Correcting a perceived wrong? Has it worked? What response do you want? Outrage? Letters? Sympathy? Reply?
Useful tricks… Simple contrast: not this, but that ‘People think women want a sensitive man, when in fact most want a caveman.’ Puzzle – solution: rhetorical questions ‘Is it right that children live below the poverty line in a world where 10% of the population own 90% of the wealth?’ Three part list: Yesterday, today, tomorrow ‘We need to learn from the past, listen to the now and look to the future.’ That was then, this is now: ‘There was a time when it was acceptable for a man never to see the inside of a nappy. But not anymore.’
Potential pitfalls… Working out the point Finding an effective style/voice Being upbeat Finding the facts to back an argument Devising a suitable emotion Avoiding whining/ranting
A bad comment will… Sit on the fence – have no point Switch writing styles Lack emotion Omit facts & quotes Be long-winded and laborious Preach/tell people what to think
A good comment will… Tell people what you want to happen Tell people why you want it to happen Tell people the consequences of it not happening Offer some facts about situation and its causes Tell them why again – but much stronger
Features are always written in the present tense (..,’ she says/reveals/stutters/snaps) When using numbers: 1 – 9 = words (ie one, two three) 10+ = numerals (ie 13, 256, 13,486) Money is always figures (ie £5, £5000) Put titles of books, films, newspapers, songs etc in italics (ie Twilight, The Sun, The Birdie Song) Don’t refer to the interview
Feature article, interview or comment piece Assignment briefs on MyBU 1,000 words 20% unit total Due by noon Friday 11 th Jan
Thanks, Chickens. It’s been emotional. LOL!!!!!
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