Copy Editing III (Interviewing)

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  • 1. Conducting interviews Introduction News interviews Feature interviews Interviewee questions In-class exercise Interview assignment

2. News interviews Indentify yourself as a reporter for X media outlet State what youre looking for Im looking for reaction to/comments on Guard against sources saying Youre not going to quote me on this, are you? halfway through interview. Start with Since Ill be quoting you in the story, can you spell your full name? Establish sources title or relationship to the story. 3. News interviews If potential source doesnt want to be interviewed, illustrate benefits of participating in the story: -The opportunity to tell their side -Raise public awareness -Contribute to finding a solution After covering the 5 Ws, look for colour: specific examples, exact details, imagery and emotion. 4. News interviews Ask witnesses for sensory details: What did you see? What did you hear? How did it feel? How did it smell? Leave the door open for follow-up questions and future stories. Get a phone number/email before leaving. 5. Feature interviews Arrange to do interviews in person, unless theres no other way. Suggest Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout. Interview the subject in a relevant environment. Prepare questions in advance. Use research to avoid asking obvious/redundant questions. Test tape-recording device beforehand and bring notebook. 6. Feature/news interviews Pros of taping interviews -Can focus on listening, rather than taking notes -Easier to ask questions on the fly -Helps with accuracy -Defense against claims of misquotation Cons of taping interviews -Transcribing tape takes time -Difficult to zero in on best quotes -Possibility of device failure Solution: Tape and take notes on best quotes, observations 7. Digging for treasure Start with get-to-know-you questions, move toward more difficult ones. Get more information by asking short, open- ended questions: Can you give examples? How do you measure that? What are the next steps? How do you know that? How would you describe ? 8. Get clarification Dont be afraid of silence. Let the interviewee fill it in. Getting clarification: Can you put that in laymans terms? What do you mean by If I dont understand, it will be hard for readers to understand So, in a nutshell What youre saying is Walk me through the timeline 9. Asking tough questions Difficult questions -Stay calm and objective -Use research/evidence and consider having it with you -Distance yourself: Critics are saying XYZ. How do you respond? To play Devils advocate On the other hand, not everyone agrees 10. Traumatic situations In a situation of loss, dont ask How do you feel? If a direct relative doesnt want to speak, there may be an extended family member willing to answer your questions. Ask about persons character, impact, legacy. 11. Interviewee questions Some frequently asked interviewee questions: Can I see the questions in advance? Can I see the story before it gets published? Do you have to use my name? Can I offer you a gift/sample/free service? 12. Wrapping it up Look through list of questions to see if youve covered them all. I will probably contact you for follow-up questions or to confirm facts before publication. Will you be available? Who else would you suggest I interview? Is there anything Ive forgotten to ask? 13. Interview exercise Group 1: Stephen McNeil, Liberal leader, candidate in N.S. election. Group 2: Dan Savage, syndicated sex columnist, speaking in Halifax soon. Group 3: Darrell Dexter, Premier, NDP leader Group 4: Photojournalist Marc Ellison, speaking at Kings this week. 14. Class profiles Examples of student work: Great leads Active, vivid stories Good quotes and details Stories leave you curious