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Interviewing Chapter 11. Interviewing– an underappreciated skill! Why am I interviewing? Whom should I interview? When and where should I interview? What.

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Presentation on theme: "Interviewing Chapter 11. Interviewing– an underappreciated skill! Why am I interviewing? Whom should I interview? When and where should I interview? What."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interviewing Chapter 11

2 Interviewing– an underappreciated skill! Why am I interviewing? Whom should I interview? When and where should I interview? What questions should I ask? How should I conduct the interview? How many interviews should I do? Writing the interview story

3 A Journalist’s Basic Tool Successful interviews do not just happen They are the product of thought and planning by reporters Reporters planning to interview a source should ask themselves: “Why am I conducting this interview? What kind of story will I write from this information?” The answers will determine what kinds of questions will be asked, what kind of sources will be sought and how reporters conduct themselves during interviews

4 Details Sought in Types of Stories News Story (crime or city council action) –Facts and details such as dates, names, locations and costs –A chronology showing the unfolding events –Context and perspective, including the significance of events or issues and their relationships to other issues –Anecdotes to illuminate events of issues and make them more dramatic and understandable for readers Feature Story (personality profile for example) –Need everything needed to write a news story plus descriptions of the following: –The environment in which the subject lives or works –How the subject appears and dresses –The subject’s mannerisms –Smells, sounds and textures associated with the subject’s home or work, using every sense to create an image of the interview subject

5 Investigative Story Questions Investigative Story Questions The purpose of such a story is to expose wrongdoing, and sources may fear losing their jobs and reputations. Atmosphere can be tense Need to get basic news information, plus: The subject’s versions of events, which may differ from that of other sources and records Explanations of contradictions if subject of a story tells a version of events that differs markedly from that of other sources Replies to charges and allegations—during an investigation, reporters may gather charges/allegations against a story subject. These should be presented to the subject, who should have the opportunity to reply

6 Steps in Preparing for an Interview Define the purpose– is this a news, feature or investigative interview? What information is necessary for the story? Decide whom to interview– obvious in many cases, but in others research needed to decide the best sources Assess the character of the interviewee– is it in this person’s best interest to talk to you? What will he or she get out of the interview, the article? Identify the areas of inquiry– what topics will the interview focus on? What questions will enable the reporter to gather the needed info to write on the topic? Anticipate possible answers to questions– advance research can help reporters anticipate responses and thus prepare possible follow-up questions

7 Selecting Sources Personality profile- the subject, his/her friends, enemies, co-workers Issue story- who has the info necessary to write the story? Reporters on a deadline must be selective The basic principle is to seek the best available source Sources should possess relevant knowledge, expertise or insight They should be articulate And be able to make complicated matters clear and interesting Sometimes the best source is a document or record rather than a person (for needed factual background information) Seek out useful directories, publications Local college faculties can be excellent sources

8 The Advantages of Research Reporter won’t waste time by asking about issues that have already been widely publicized Research can lead to more interesting questions You will not embarrass yourself by appearing ignorant Sources are more likely to trust reporters who seem knowledgeable With research you are more likely to recognize newsworthy statements and ask intelligent follow- up questions about them You are more likely to spot inconsistencies and evasions Research helps identify secondary sources, other people who may have insights into a topic

9 Conducting the Interview-- Telephone Many interviews are conducted by phone When they do, reporters always identify themselves and their news organizations at the start of the conversation If you are recording, ask permission first Experience reporters wear phone headsets, keeping hands free to type notes into a computer during the interview Advantages of phone interviews are that they can save time Disadvantage are that you cannot see how someone reacts to the questions, tend to be brief and superficial Better to conduct in-depth interviews in person

10 Interviews Interviews Good for hard-to-reach or reluctant sources Sources who dodge phone calls or hesitate to return them may answer a reporter’s Sources can provide more in-depth, thorough and thoughtful ed answers Disadvantage: The response may not be from the intended source; no voice, facial expressions to gauge comfort with questions; less spontaneous; possibility of deception greater

11 Taking Notes Try to record longer interviews In writing notes, reporters develop shorthand and shortcuts– may leave out some words, abbreviate others, and only jot down names, numbers, good quotations and key ideas OK to ask someone to speak more slowly and to repeat statements Review notes immediately while still fresh in the mind– the longer you wait, more likely to forget some key facts or distort others Review notes immediately while still fresh in the mind– the longer you wait, more likely to forget some key facts or distort others

12 Writing the Interview Story Most reporters begin interview stories with a summary lead that presents the story’s central point Reporters then present the highlights in the following paragraphs You can also use an alternative lead, such as an anecdote or description that introduces a nut paragraph containing the central point Information in the body of the story is usually organized by topic, and facts and quotes are organized in the order of their importance, not in the order in which the source provided them Be sure to keep every direct and indirect quotation in proper context


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