Miguel Cervantes said that.
But I have to pass this along, at the risk of sounding like a scold: I was at a favorite local restaurant last week and ran into a friend who gets interviewed a lot. He said, “You work in the journalism school, don’t you?”
Uh-oh, I thought. Bravely, I nodded.
He started to point at me while he spoke. “Not a single one of your students is ever prepared for an interview. They come in here, they ask me about the history of (fill in name of business here), they ask me all this stuff they could find on our website. They want me to go over all this history with them that’s been published a million times.”
Now, my friend is not a dumb guy and he understands that you have to verify information that you have picked up from other sources, including the company website. That wasn’t what he was talking about. He was quite clear about what he wants from the interview: to be able to talk about the good stuff, the new stuff — the news.
“We spend all this time going over the background, and it’s a total waste of my time,” he said. “And I know I’m doing the kid’s homework for him.”
I told my friend I would pass it along to you, though I am by no means convinced that he was talking about anyone in the reporting class this semester.
Preparation is a sign of respect for the people we call sources. Don’t skimp on it.