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Interviewing. Basic ways to gather info. Before we can write for the mass media, we need to collection information. Primary ways to collect info: - Documents - Attending events/first person - Interviewing. First up. Decide who to interview for the story. Seek the best possible source.

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Basic ways to gather info
Basic ways to gather info

  • Before we can write for the mass media, we need to collection information.

  • Primary ways to collect info:- Documents- Attending events/first person- Interviewing


First up
First up

  • Decide who to interview for the story.

  • Seek the best possible source.

  • Looking for a person with knowledge, expertise and insight relevant to your story.

  • Avoid public relations people if you can.


How many interviews
How many interviews?

  • How many people should you talk to for your story? It depends.

  • Expertise of sources, complexity of the topic.

  • Talk to as many people as you have to so you can assemble a complete report.


But …

  • No matter how many sources you talk to, you need to evaluate your sources.

  • Are they credible and knowledgeable on the subject?

  • Do they have an agenda or an ax to grind?


Preparing for an interview
Preparing for an interview

  • Before an interview, make sure to research the topic or person so that you have some familiarity with the subject.

  • Sources like that because it indicates you respect them by taking the time to familiarize yourself with the subject.

  • They are taking time out to help you do your job.


Research
Research

  • By doing some research before the interview, you don’t waste time asking about things that are widely known.

  • It’s easier to ask interesting, productive questions.

  • You won’t embarrass yourself by appearing ignorant.


Research cont
Research, cont.

  • You’re more likely to recognize when they say something significant or newsworthy.

  • Less likely you’ll have to go back and interview the person again.

  • Some sources try to manipulate reporters or avoid difficult topics. Research helps you avoid that.


It s easier than ever
It’s easier than ever

  • Google and other online resources make doing research on a topic easier than it’s ever been.

  • Your organization probably has files or records on subjects as well.

  • Co-workers can be valuable sources of information.


Where to interview
Where to interview?

  • In-person is the best way to interview someone.- Natural way to talk.- Can help put nervous people at ease.- You can notice things – gestures, the person’s surroundings, etc. that may become part of your story.


Phone and email
Phone and email

  • Phone interviews OK if pressed for time, or if it’s a source you talk to a lot.

  • If you interview by phone and want to type your notes while you are talking, make sure to tell the source.

  • Email interviews are best avoided.


Notes and recorders
Notes and recorders

  • Make sure to bring plenty of paper to take notes and two pens.

  • Direct vs. indirect quotes.

  • Voice recorders are OK to use, but don’t only rely on them.


Taking notes
Taking notes

  • People often talk faster than we can write.

  • Most interviews work at getting important direct quotes down. They jot down other facts quickly.

  • Abbreviations can help, or develop your own shorthand.

  • Throwaway questions.


Write some questions out
Write some questions out

  • After you do your research and set up the interview, jot down some questions you want to make sure to ask.

  • These will help you stay on track during your interview.

  • Don’t think of these as a script, though. LISTEN to what is being said.


What should i ask
What should I ask?

  • Interviewers should have a tentative central point in mind as they plan a story – the “what.”

  • Ask as many questions as required to assemble a complete story that would answer all your readers’ questions.


The interview
The interview

  • Take a conversational approach to your interview. You’re not a prosecutor – talk with your source.

  • Observe

  • LISTEN

  • Keep it on track. Sometimes source may drift, steer them back to the topic at hand.


The interview cont
The interview, cont.

  • Sources don’t like to be badgered or pushed.

  • Hostile source? Try to find out why.

  • Don’t ever deceive a person about the purpose of your interview.

  • If you are conducting a phone interview and recording it, let the source know. Ethical issue.


The last question
The last question

  • At the end of your interview, ask the source if there’s anything they would like to add or you may have forgotten to ask about.

  • Sometimes people have interesting info that they don’t want to impose on you.


Controversial questions
Controversial questions

  • If you have to ask something that you feel may be difficult or potentially embarrassing for the source, save it until the end of your interview.


Interview s done now what
Interview’s done. Now what?

  • Make sure to go over your notes as soon as you get back to your office, when the interview is fresh on your mind.

  • Transcribe your notes right away, so you don’t forget something.


On the record off the record
On the record, off the record

  • Interviews are considered “on the record,” that is, it is assumed you can use these in a story.

  • Sometimes, a source may want to tell you something in confidence.

  • If the person asks to go “off the record,” and you agree, the info you subsequently receive cannot be published or used in a broadcast report.


Off the record cont
Off the record, cont.

  • The person requesting to give you information off the record must make that request before giving you the info. They can’t do it after speaking and then automatically expect you to keep the information confidential.


Quotes
Quotes

  • Direct – the exact words a speaker uses, surrounded by quotation marks.

  • Indirect – a paraphrase of the speaker’s statement.

  • Direct quotes provide color to a story, give us insight into how the speaker thinks, and let the reader “talk” to the source.


Using quotes
Using quotes

  • Make sure you have direct quotes down accurately. If not, go with indirect.

  • No more than two or three paragraphs in a row of direct quotes from a source.

  • Correct grammar?

  • Ellipsis … if you have a long quote, and part is removed.


Attribution
Attribution

  • Make sure to attribute information you obtain from sources that is not generally known by your audience.

  • Attribute as often as you have to so that the reader is clear as to where info came from.

  • Use “said.”


Interviewing tips checklist
Interviewing tips/checklist

  • Page 86 of the book has a nice list of 18 tips for interviewing.



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