Can I Ask You a Question…maybe not

interviewAs the semester progresses, I’ve begun to recall the reason I would NOT raise my hand to take the biggest news ideas at the school paper. The reason is INTERVIEWING. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write but I usually stuck to the feature stories and the stories with the less contact of people. Features more or less involve surveys or one simple question and then you move on.  I’ve always just had a fear of talking to people I didn’t know. Talking to someone I didn’t know about things that were maybe personal and intruding didn’t make the process any easier. Luckily there are tips online that can somewhat help me to ease through the dreaded process

The question in my mind is always before any interview, is why is this person going to listen to me and care what questions I have to ask? My mission this week is to get over this fear. After all, like Jim Militello’s, the class speaker said in class, “In journalism, in order to get information you have to ask questions.”

When I start my interviews for our first assignment, I will take his advice and be bold. Because if I don’t I might miss my big break and the golden opportunity to start my career.

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One response to “Can I Ask You a Question…maybe not

  1. Content: 4 Interviewing can be a challenge, certainly. And before every interview, there is anxiety, fear, and the question, what if something goes terribly wrong? Interviews almost never occur as planned and spontaneity can be alarming. It can also be fun. I hope you are keeping your promise. I’ll look closely at your interviews and quotes.

    A few asides: On features — if you think features involve fewer interviews than breaking news stories, you are dead wrong. Good features require more.

    When I teach features, I insist on three to five sources used in a story, which means double or triple that interviewed minimum. Features require depth. If you write a profile you don’t just interview the subject — you interview all the people in key positions around him/her — family, friends, coaches, girl/boyfriends, ex-girl/boyfriends etc. You want to know what makes that person function — what are his/her thoughts/dreams? Why does he/she do what he/she does etc. etc. etc. Read the New Yorker profiles. You’ll see what I mean. Read Gary Smith’s profiles (he’s a sports guy, but his profiles are lovely) Get a hold of the Gay Talese reader — study his prose. Imagine what sort of interviews he did/does for those pieces.
    Links: 1 About.com is not a prime source for info on journalism. There are many experts out there — journalism profs with blogs, Poynter, Reporter.org etc. Why take tips from About.com? They are not very valuable for me, the reader.
    Grammar: 2 This post if full of unnecessary words, clutter and cliches (golden opportunity, dreaded process, question in my mind). Also there is an ‘s mistake in Millitello’s and the less contact with people should read the least amount of contact with people.

    You could cut the piece in half and make it stronger. Try.

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