This week we are examining reporting and interviewing. It is important to know the techniques to employ.
It is important to prepare carefully and ask questions that induce the source to talk freely. While the source is speaking, note what is said, how it is said and what is not said. Sources are encouraged by the reporter’s gestures and facial expressions to keep talking.
The preparation is the same whether you are going to interview a politician, a student, or a welder: from the person’s past you learn what questions are likely to stimulate a response.
- Do research on the interview topic and the person to be interviewed, so you can ask the right questions and understand the answers.
- Devise an angle for your story (an angle is discussed further below). A major purpose of the interview will be to obtain quotes, anecdotes and other evidence to support that theme.
- Good questions are the result of solid preparation.
Before the specific questions are put to the interviewee, a few housekeeping details usually needed. Break the ice: explain who you are, what you are doing, why you went to him or her. Then obtain background information about the subject such as age, education, jobs held, family information, etc.
Get the person talking, set up a conversational atmosphere. This will provide you with important clues about his or her attitude toward you, the subject and the idea of being interviewed.
Start through your questions to lead him along a trail you have picked. One question should logically follow another.
Get in the habit of asking treading‑water questions, such as “What do you mean?” or “Why’s that?” This is an easy way to keep the person talking.
It is common practice to begin an interview with open‑ended questions, which allows the source to relax. Then the close‑ended questions are asked, which may seem threatening if asked at the outset of the interview.
- open‑ended question does not require a specific answer.
- close-ended question calls for a brief, pointed reply
NEWS ANGLE EXPLAINED:
Interviews and stories covering the same topic can differ depending on the angle the writer chooses. The angle chosen will create the need for different questions to be asked.
For example, a story about the Dominican College’s women’s track team could have numerous angles.
Competitiveness: How does the College’s team match up to other teams in the conference?
Quality: What do athletes have to say about their team (frustrated, pleased, good coaching, etc.)? Is it worth the time to participate in exchange for any scholarship opportunities afforded? Are there good practice and training facilities?
Team Personnel: Are there any stand-out athletes? If so, who? What are the team’s strong points? Weak points? Who is the captain and leader? How did she step into this role?
Assignment Week Four:
Conduct an interview of someone. During Week One I asked you to conduct an interview, but this interview is a bit different since you will be assigned the topic (you must create the angle to the topic). I would also like this article to be 500 words instead of 300-350 words.
Topic Assigned: interview a student about Dominican College. Again, you need to create the angle. Perhaps you want to interview the student about the tuition and costs? Maybe you want to interview the student what s/he thinks of his or her major? Maybe your angle will be about dorm life? Or what it is like to be a commuter attending Dominican College? The angle is up to you, but please find your own angle. If any of the above appeal to you, then you may use one of those angles — but there are plenty of angles to choose from.
Finally, create a new page on your website and write the article that reflects that you read and incorporated the information contained not only on this page, but also from Week Three, particularly the inverted pyramid and the lede. Don’t forget to add your interview article to your main menu (not part of a drop down menu).
Finally, please do not forget to screenshot your work and submit it on Blackboard by Sunday at 11:59 PM.