Interviewing Tips

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Information about Interviewing Tips

Published on March 17, 2008

Author: Brett509

Source: slideshare.net

Description

This slideshow focuses on interviewing techniques by journalists.

Interviewing JOURN 305 Chapter 10

Interviewing Your goal is to get accurate and interesting information for your story There are several strategies available to get your subject to talk

Your goal is to get accurate and interesting information for your story

There are several strategies available to get your subject to talk

Building Trust A source that trusts you will be more likely to open up To establish trust, you may need to spend some time with the subjects If you are on a “beat,” then you may want to socially network with your most important recurring sources

A source that trusts you will be more likely to open up

To establish trust, you may need to spend some time with the subjects

If you are on a “beat,” then you may want to socially network with your most important recurring sources

Building Trust Remember that your sources are human beings They will respond better to you if you have a good track record with them Honesty and empathy always work!

Remember that your sources are human beings

They will respond better to you if you have a good track record with them

Honesty and empathy always work!

Funnel Interview Save your toughest questions for last This enables time to build trust with your interview subject

Save your toughest questions for last

This enables time to build trust with your interview subject

Trustbusters “ Burning” a source with bad ink Misquoting a source Identifying an anonymous source Misrepresenting your intentions Failure to answer any concerns/questions that the source may have before the interview

“ Burning” a source with bad ink

Misquoting a source

Identifying an anonymous source

Misrepresenting your intentions

Failure to answer any concerns/questions that the source may have before the interview

Trustbusters Your first encounter with the source is critical since the first impression is made In most cases, you will want to put the source at ease However, in some serious interviews, you will deliberately want to use the tension to your advantage

Your first encounter with the source is critical since the first impression is made

In most cases, you will want to put the source at ease

However, in some serious interviews, you will deliberately want to use the tension to your advantage

Tension Strategy When you know a subject is being deceitful, it might be good to keep the tension so that the subject’s true motives are more transparent

When you know a subject is being deceitful, it might be good to keep the tension so that the subject’s true motives are more transparent

Inverted Funnel Tough, specific questions first Use if you have little time Use if you need to nail down an answer

Tough, specific questions first

Use if you have little time

Use if you need to nail down an answer

Preparing for the Interview Preparation strategies for the interview will vary What kind of interview are you doing? News Profile/Feature Investigative Broadcast TV/radio

Preparation strategies for the interview will vary

What kind of interview are you doing?

News

Profile/Feature

Investigative

Broadcast TV/radio

The News Story Use all available resources to research the history of the subject covered Go direct to the source – but don’t expect them to tell you the “whole story” An “off the record” insider may help you get a fresh perspective

Use all available resources to research the history of the subject covered

Go direct to the source – but don’t expect them to tell you the “whole story”

An “off the record” insider may help you get a fresh perspective

“ Off the Record” Hotly debated topic Is it ethical to gather info “off the record”? Should everything be fair game? Can you use information gained “off the record” without directly quoting the information or source?

Hotly debated topic

Is it ethical to gather info “off the record”?

Should everything be fair game?

Can you use information gained “off the record” without directly quoting the information or source?

Sources Some sources will want to remain anonymous If you agree to keep their identity private, it is unethical to reveal their names to anyone Exceptions: Government subpoena If it is determined to jeopardize the national security or is essential is solving a crime Publication policy Due to some problems with reporter integrity, some publications are now requiring reporters to share the identity of the anonymous reporter with their supervising editor

Some sources will want to remain anonymous

If you agree to keep their identity private, it is unethical to reveal their names to anyone

Exceptions:

Government subpoena

If it is determined to jeopardize the national security or is essential is solving a crime

Publication policy

Due to some problems with reporter integrity, some publications are now requiring reporters to share the identity of the anonymous reporter with their supervising editor

Use Caution Be aware of sources that have an axe to grind Do they have an agenda? Are they telling the truth? Are they reliable? Substance abuse = suspicion Do they really have a direct connection to the news event? Be careful of “hearsay”

Be aware of sources that have an axe to grind

Do they have an agenda?

Are they telling the truth?

Are they reliable?

Substance abuse = suspicion

Do they really have a direct connection to the news event?

Be careful of “hearsay”

Off the Record If a subject tries to go “off the record,” you should try to get them to stay “on the record” Usually they will still talk Tell them you need the attribution for the sake of credibility Or…you can return to the topic in an “on the record” question later in the interview to get your quote

If a subject tries to go “off the record,” you should try to get them to stay “on the record”

Usually they will still talk

Tell them you need the attribution for the sake of credibility

Or…you can return to the topic in an “on the record” question later in the interview to get your quote

Common Problems for Beginners Beginning reporters often are afraid to ask probing questions that might anger the subject You are there to get the story right above all else They also get manipulated by the subjects who give a lot of sanitized, “canned” responses Style but no substance

Beginning reporters often are afraid to ask probing questions that might anger the subject

You are there to get the story right above all else

They also get manipulated by the subjects who give a lot of sanitized, “canned” responses

Style but no substance

Dealing with Jerks It will happen…often. Don’t take it personally. If they question your motives, then let reassure them that you intend to be fair and accurate in your reporting Keep calm Explain why the answer is necessary for the story

It will happen…often.

Don’t take it personally.

If they question your motives, then let reassure them that you intend to be fair and accurate in your reporting

Keep calm

Explain why the answer is necessary for the story

Uncomfortable Interviews You may encounter an interview that is difficult to conduct due to the sensitivity of the subject While personally uncomfortable, these often make for some of the best interviews Example: Interviewing someone who has just been laid off Interviewing someone who has just had a death in the family Interviewing someone who has been accused of a crime Interviewing someone who is defensive or hostile

You may encounter an interview that is difficult to conduct due to the sensitivity of the subject

While personally uncomfortable, these often make for some of the best interviews

Example:

Interviewing someone who has just been laid off

Interviewing someone who has just had a death in the family

Interviewing someone who has been accused of a crime

Interviewing someone who is defensive or hostile

Uncomfortable Interviews Remember that they are human, too Behave appropriately There is a fine line between being aggressive and obnoxious

Remember that they are human, too

Behave appropriately

There is a fine line between being aggressive and obnoxious

The Rambling Interview Some subjects ramble off subject This may be unintentional, but sometimes it is a deliberate attempt to dodge a difficult question Don’t be afraid to steer them back on track

Some subjects ramble off subject

This may be unintentional, but sometimes it is a deliberate attempt to dodge a difficult question

Don’t be afraid to steer them back on track

Persistence Pays When conducting an interview, make sure that your key questions are answered If the subject does not know an answer, ask them who in the organization is available to respond Many subjects will try to escape accountability through “double speak” and “passing the buck”

When conducting an interview, make sure that your key questions are answered

If the subject does not know an answer, ask them who in the organization is available to respond

Many subjects will try to escape accountability through “double speak” and “passing the buck”

No Stone Left Unturned When you write your story, you should have answers to the key questions If you don’t, then you should include an explanation for the absence of clear information Example: “A spokesperson declined to comment on…” Example: “The cause of the fire was still undetermined, according to…” Example: “The company isn’t disclosing the amount paid for the acquisition. However, the financial terms are expected to be revealed in tomorrow’s filing with the SEC.”

When you write your story, you should have answers to the key questions

If you don’t, then you should include an explanation for the absence of clear information

Example: “A spokesperson declined to comment on…”

Example: “The cause of the fire was still undetermined, according to…”

Example: “The company isn’t disclosing the amount paid for the acquisition. However, the financial terms are expected to be revealed in tomorrow’s filing with the SEC.”

Expert Jargon Sometimes you will interview industry experts that use jargon that is unfamiliar to the general public Try to get the expert to rephrase the information in clearer terms At a minimum, make sure that you fully understand the jargon so that you can paraphrase correctly Don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance!

Sometimes you will interview industry experts that use jargon that is unfamiliar to the general public

Try to get the expert to rephrase the information in clearer terms

At a minimum, make sure that you fully understand the jargon so that you can paraphrase correctly

Don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance!

Be Provocative Aim for a provocative interview without being confrontational You are there to get the story – not start a fight!

Aim for a provocative interview without being confrontational

You are there to get the story – not start a fight!

Feature/Profile Story Go beyond the main subject interview to get the “full story” Talk to friends and family members to help get a diverse perspective on the subject interviewed Your writing style will likely include observations and details that would not be appropriate in a “news” report/article

Go beyond the main subject interview to get the “full story”

Talk to friends and family members to help get a diverse perspective on the subject interviewed

Your writing style will likely include observations and details that would not be appropriate in a “news” report/article

Investigative Reporting Be prepared to spend a longer amount of time preparing this piece You must strategize in how you ask your questions, as well as WHO to ask questions and WHEN to ask them Example: At a certain point, your inquiries can result in actions that impede or prevent further investigation

Be prepared to spend a longer amount of time preparing this piece

You must strategize in how you ask your questions, as well as WHO to ask questions and WHEN to ask them

Example: At a certain point, your inquiries can result in actions that impede or prevent further investigation

Broadcast Interviews When you conduct an interview for TV or radio, the goal is to get a sound bite that can be extracted and edited into a larger news piece

When you conduct an interview for TV or radio, the goal is to get a sound bite that can be extracted and edited into a larger news piece

Types of Broadcast Interviews News Interviews Gather info on a news event Usually quick and to-the-point Feature Interviews Designed to entertain May be more in-depth

News Interviews

Gather info on a news event

Usually quick and to-the-point

Feature Interviews

Designed to entertain

May be more in-depth

Interview Editing While some interviews are done live, many are pre-recorded and edited In the editing room, the actual interview may be chopped down considerably to include only significant soundbites

While some interviews are done live, many are pre-recorded and edited

In the editing room, the actual interview may be chopped down considerably to include only significant soundbites

Sound Bite Sometimes unintentional but often strategized Memorable and catchy quote Quick, focused Captures the essence of your point May be funny “one liner”

Sometimes unintentional but often strategized

Memorable and catchy quote

Quick, focused

Captures the essence of your point

May be funny “one liner”

Infamous Sound Bites “ I never had sex with that woman” “ Can’t we all just get along?” “ Read my lips: no new taxes!”

“ I never had sex with that woman”

“ Can’t we all just get along?”

“ Read my lips: no new taxes!”

Pre-Interview Not all announcers use the pre-interview It can serve as a good rehearsal for both host and guest Can help to focus topic of discussion Danger of losing spontaneity

Not all announcers use the pre-interview

It can serve as a good rehearsal for both host and guest

Can help to focus topic of discussion

Danger of losing spontaneity

Altered States There are some things that will alter the “mood” of the interview subject Example: The physical presence of a camera or tape recorder may cause the subject to “perform” or be more careful in considering what they reveal

There are some things that will alter the “mood” of the interview subject

Example:

The physical presence of a camera or tape recorder may cause the subject to “perform” or be more careful in considering what they reveal

Your Secret Weapon Here is one of the best kept secrets for interviewing: Some of the best information comes in the casual conversation that follows the “interview” After the camera or tape has stopped and the pen is put away, the subject may begin to converse casually and reveal better information than given previously

Here is one of the best kept secrets for interviewing:

Some of the best information comes in the casual conversation that follows the “interview”

After the camera or tape has stopped and the pen is put away, the subject may begin to converse casually and reveal better information than given previously

Interview Skills Don’t talk too much if the interview is for broadcast media Keep the guest and topic on focus Don’t ask overly complex questions If necessary, then make sure that you explain complexities in easy to understand language Listen! Adjust questions when necessary

Don’t talk too much if the interview is for broadcast media

Keep the guest and topic on focus

Don’t ask overly complex questions

If necessary, then make sure that you explain complexities in easy to understand language

Listen!

Adjust questions when necessary

Interview Skills Ask Follow-up Questions Offer non-verbal feedback to responses Ask for clarification, if necessary

Ask Follow-up Questions

Offer non-verbal feedback to responses

Ask for clarification, if necessary

Types of Questions Closed ended questions Answered with simple “yes” or “no” Example: “Do you like your job?” Generally makes a bad interview Open ended questions Provides opportunity for broad answers Example: “What do you like about your job?”

Closed ended questions

Answered with simple “yes” or “no”

Example: “Do you like your job?”

Generally makes a bad interview

Open ended questions

Provides opportunity for broad answers

Example: “What do you like about your job?”

Interview Tips Avoid leading questions “ You don’t like George Bush, do you?” Avoid obvious questions “ Were you unhappy when your movie flopped?” If the interview is being broadcast, plan your transitions from topic to topic ahead of time

Avoid leading questions

“ You don’t like George Bush, do you?”

Avoid obvious questions

“ Were you unhappy when your movie flopped?”

If the interview is being broadcast, plan your transitions from topic to topic ahead of time

Keep Your Cool Maintain control of the interview Know when and how to interrupt to keep guest from rambling Maintain a neutral/objective view

Maintain control of the interview

Know when and how to interrupt to keep guest from rambling

Maintain a neutral/objective view

Build to the Point Save your most volatile questions for the end of the interview Begin with easier questions to establish a connection and trust with your guest

Save your most volatile questions for the end of the interview

Begin with easier questions to establish a connection and trust with your guest

Prepare Your Questions Troubleshoot your interview before it occurs Plan questions ahead of time You probably won’t use all of your questions, but the process is helpful in establishing a focus to your actual interview

Troubleshoot your interview before it occurs

Plan questions ahead of time

You probably won’t use all of your questions, but the process is helpful in establishing a focus to your actual interview

Accuracy Check Inevitably, you will encounter a need to clarify a quote or note that you have taken during the interview It is not uncommon to “fact check” with the subject by following up directly with them after the conclusion of the interview In some cases, a quote is read back to confirm that it is accurate …or to ask for clarification

Inevitably, you will encounter a need to clarify a quote or note that you have taken during the interview

It is not uncommon to “fact check” with the subject by following up directly with them after the conclusion of the interview

In some cases, a quote is read back to confirm that it is accurate …or to ask for clarification

Fact Checking Be cautious when a subject presents a statistic as if it is fact Be prepared to confirm all statistics with an independent source Statistics are often manipulated

Be cautious when a subject presents a statistic as if it is fact

Be prepared to confirm all statistics with an independent source

Statistics are often manipulated

Using Quotes Only use a quote if it conveys something that can’t be communicated better in your own words Often a better strategy is paraphrasing what the subject has told you

Only use a quote if it conveys something that can’t be communicated better in your own words

Often a better strategy is paraphrasing what the subject has told you

Using Quotes Use quote if it is particularly articulate or powerful in the wording Most people do not speak in a way that translates well into a quote

Use quote if it is particularly articulate or powerful in the wording

Most people do not speak in a way that translates well into a quote

Using Quotes The more significant the interviewee is, the more likely a reader will be interested Make sure that the quote is used to add a unique angle or credibility to the story

The more significant the interviewee is, the more likely a reader will be interested

Make sure that the quote is used to add a unique angle or credibility to the story

Quoting Accurately If the grammar is poor, then some reporters will “clean up” the quote This practice varies by publication HOWEVER, if the interview was witnessed by multiple media outlets (example: press conference) then you should leave the quotes alone

If the grammar is poor, then some reporters will “clean up” the quote

This practice varies by publication

HOWEVER, if the interview was witnessed by multiple media outlets (example: press conference) then you should leave the quotes alone

(sic) If you want to be cautious, then you can use the “(sic)” notation in your printed quote to notate a grammatical error made by your subject

If you want to be cautious, then you can use the “(sic)” notation in your printed quote to notate a grammatical error made by your subject

Observation Sometimes a key part of the story lies in what is observed, rather than spoken Pay attention to the body language or non-verbal cues from your subject

Sometimes a key part of the story lies in what is observed, rather than spoken

Pay attention to the body language or non-verbal cues from your subject

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