News U Course- The Interview

By Shantrell Scott    

I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot of information on a subject that is known as my weakness as a journalist. The modules were visual and allowed me to receive clear and useful tips on how to ask the right kinds of questions when doing an interview.    

There was some information that I was already aware, one being the pre-interview, which is to construct several questions that gets you to your goal of what you want out of the story.  What I learned from constructing questions is that the questions don’t have to be so long and complex.  The lesson suggests that the reporter ask more short and simple questions in order to get more feedback from the interviewee.      

I also learned that even journalists have to shut up and be more of listeners than always blurting out question after question or cutting the source off in mid-sentence.  The lesson talked about how we should listen with the heart and really be interested in what the person has to say.   

There were also other useful tips from different writers on how to conduct a good interview, especially in sports writing. One tip that I learned is to not allow the source smell your fear. The writer is supposed to be the one to place the fear in the interviewee because their lives and reputation lies in our hands.  

The lesson also talks about how to handle the popular statement from interviewees: “…and this is “off the record.”  I learned to inform the interviewee about what “off the record” means and that when something is off the record, that means that the information is not meant to be used in the story. The course also talked about “not for attribution” where the source may not be attributed, but only the information is used or the source may be attributed in a general way.    

The entire website was a great help and I hope to continue to use it in the future. 

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