Thinking on your feet

I love covering breaking news. I smile just thinking about it. I’m sure it’s the adrenaline rush and the competitive thing coming out: I just want to know everything before everyone else. And when I’ve reported a story, I’ve found myself driven to find out the one thing none of the other media have figured out yet about the story — or discover the one person (I wrote “character” first, revealing my fiction background, no doubt) whose point of view is most interesting or crucial to the story. The hard part is thinking of all the right questions in the very little time we have as journalists and asking them in the right away. The other hard part is deciding what’s most important to tell the reader right now and what can wait. Have a look at these 10 Tips for a great interview. Keep them in mind when you’re doing interviews on a breaking news story.

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4 Responses to Thinking on your feet

  1. I think these are great tips for any interview. I really liked number ten when it said to ask “Who else would you suggest I talk to about this?” I never thought about asking this question. I usually just ask if they want to add something. Asking who else we should talk too could lead to great sources for the story since the person we are talking to knows about the subject to begin with.

  2. Going quickly into an interview is always tough for me because I feel like I will forget to ask the source an important question or something like that. Thinking “beyond the W’s” will be a good tip for future interviews. I also have trouble remembering to ask the source who else to talk to about the subject, so that was a good reminder as well.

  3. As trivial as it may sound, I agree that number one is very important! As reporters, we should know who we are talking to–it can help establish rapport from the moment we walk in the room.

    As far as number two is concerned, I think introducing myself as a reporter and stating why I’m contacting my interviewee definitely becomes easier with practice. The largest challenge of that part is being able to explain thoroughly, but in few words–I don’t want to ramble.

  4. sydneyaberry says:

    I love these tips. I printed them off and will keep them in my reporting notebook and take them with me to interviews for as long as I’m still conducting them. Number ten is really helpful. I have always asked if they have anything to add because I feel I get some of the best quotes with that question. But adding “Who else would you suggest I talk to about that?” would really be a great way to end the interview (and begin another one).

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