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Your first interviews

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  1. Your first interviews

  2. Taking great notes

  3. Taking great notes • Without great notes, you can’t write a great story

  4. Taking great notes • Without great notes, you can’t write a great story • It all starts with a notebook

  5. Taking great notes • Without great notes, you can’t write a great story • It all starts with a notebook • Then your own system of note taking: shorthand, organization, pen, fact organization, etc.

  6. Taking great notes • Without great notes, you can’t write a great story • It all starts with a notebook • Then your own system of note taking: shorthand, organization, pen, fact organization, etc. • Learn to write while looking at subject

  7. Taking great notes • Without great notes, you can’t write a great story • It all starts with a notebook • Then your own system of note taking: shorthand, organization, pen, fact organization, etc. • Learn to write while looking at subject; talk about one thing and write about another;

  8. Taking great notes • Without great notes, you can’t write a great story • It all starts with a notebook • Then your own system of note taking: shorthand, organization, pen, fact organization, etc. • Learn to write while looking at subject; talk about one thing and write about another; give yourself time to catch up

  9. Notebook, recorder, computer? • Pros and cons of each

  10. Notebook • You gotta have one, always

  11. Wait a minute, this is 2011 and you want me to get a notebook???

  12. Notebook • You gotta have one, always • Doesn’t fail, fits in back pocket or purse, blends in well

  13. Notebook • You gotta have one, always • Doesn’t fail, fits in back pocket or purse, blends in well • It’s slow, only as good as your note-taking system

  14. Recorder • Use sparingly

  15. Recorder • Use sparingly • You get complete accuracy, have proof if challenged, can post on web

  16. Recorder • Use sparingly • You get complete accuracy, have proof if challenged, can post on web • Causes subjects to clam up, can fail, painful to transcribe

  17. Computer • Indispensible, but usually limited to newsroom or your desktop

  18. Computer • Indispensible, but usually limited to newsroom or your desktop • Really fast, accurate, easy to organize, can do email questions

  19. Computer • Indispensible, but usually limited to newsroom or your desktop • Really fast, accurate, easy to organize, can do email questions • Stuck in one place, noisy, can fail

  20. Journalism fail...

  21. JIMMY'S WORLD Janet Cooke, Washington Post Staff WriterSeptember 28, 1980 Jimmy is 8 years old and a third-generation heroin addict, a precocious little boy with sandy hair, velvety brown eyes and needle marks freckling the baby-smooth skin of his thin brown arms.

  22. Interviewing • It’s a skill you’ve got to develop to be a great reporter

  23. Interviewing • It’s a skill you’ve got to develop to be a great reporter • Interviewing is a social skill: friendly but aggressive; polite but probing; sympathetic but skeptical

  24. Interviewing • It’s a skill you’ve got to develop to be a great reporter • Interviewing is a social skill: friendly but aggressive; polite but probing; sympathetic but skeptical • In person interview

  25. Interviewing • It’s a skill you’ve got to develop to be a great reporter • Interviewing is a social skill: friendly but aggressive; polite but probing; sympathetic but skeptical • In person interview • Phoner

  26. Interviewing • It’s a skill you’ve got to develop to be a great reporter • Interviewing is a social skill: friendly but aggressive; polite but probing; sympathetic but skeptical • In person interview • Phoner • Email

  27. Interviewing • It’s a skill you’ve got to develop to be a great reporter • Interviewing is a social skill: friendly but aggressive; polite but probing; sympathetic but skeptical • In person interview • Phoner • Email • Scrum (lots of people on one interviewee)

  28. Setting up the interview • Homework

  29. Setting up the interview • Homework • Who are the sources and the best way to reach them: live, phoner or email?

  30. Setting up the interview • Homework • Who are the sources and the best way to reach them: live, phoner or email? • Ask if photos are allowed if needed

  31. Prep for interview • Don’t waste people’s time on facts you should know: correct spelling of company name, politician’s background, etc.

  32. Prep for interview • Don’t waste people’s time on facts you should know: correct spelling of company name, politician’s background, etc. • Write out questions or topics

  33. Prep for interview • Don’t waste people’s time on facts you should know: correct spelling of company name, politician’s background, etc. • Write out questions or topics • Dress appropriately for interview

  34. During interview • If you’re relaxed, source will be relaxed

  35. During interview • If you’re relaxed, source will be relaxed • You’re in charge

  36. During interview • If you’re relaxed, source will be relaxed • You’re in charge • Start with basics

  37. During interview • If you’re relaxed, source will be relaxed • You’re in charge • Start with basics • Keep questions simple, rather than multi-faceted

  38. During interview • If you’re relaxed, source will be relaxed • You’re in charge • Start with basics • Keep questions simple, rather than multi-faceted • Ask open-ended questions! Avoid those that can be answered “yes” or “no.”

  39. During interview • If you’re relaxed, source will be relaxed • You’re in charge • Start with basics • Keep questions simple, rather than multi-faceted • Ask open-ended questions! Avoid those that can be answered “yes” or “no.” • Be sure questions get answered, especially with politicians

  40. During interview, deux • Rephrase questions if you don’t get what you want or it’s unclear

  41. During interview, deux • Rephrase questions if you don’t get what you want or it’s unclear • Ask follow-ups: How do you know that? Can you give me an example? What is the thought behind that?

  42. During interview, deux • Rephrase questions if you don’t get what you want or it’s unclear • Ask follow-ups: How do you know that? Can you give me an example? What is the thought behind that? • Be flexible, follow the twists and turns

  43. During interview, deux • Rephrase questions if you don’t get what you want or it’s unclear • Ask follow-ups: How do you know that? Can you give me an example? What is the thought behind that? • Be flexible, follow the twists and turns • Note the “color” facts

  44. Afterwards • Ask who else to contact

  45. Afterwards • Ask who else to contact • Ask if you can call back later for more questions

  46. Afterwards • Ask who else to contact • Ask if you can call back later for more questions • Thank your source

  47. Afterwards • Ask who else to contact • Ask if you can call back later for more questions • Thank your source • Review your notes soon to be sure it’s all clear

  48. On, off the record, on background • Different sets of ground rules for interviews