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Best way to interview without a recorder

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rhouston, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Rhouston

    Rhouston Member

    Like the subject head says.

    I usually use a voice recorder for interviewing, but seeing as I start a job pretty soon that requires me to call up coaches for previews and type out their quotes as they say it, I'm a little worried that I'm not going to be able to type as fast as they're talking. What's the best way to ensure I get their quotes correct?
  2. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    You need to develop your own shorthand.
  3. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    type faster

    write faster

    tell the coach if there's an awkward pause it's because you are writing that down carefully because you don't want to misquote them

    or record your phone interviews with permission
  4. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Just listen very carefully and try to catch everything he or she is throwing. You'll get used to it. Like Wicked said, you've got to develop your own shorthand. Once you're comfortable with the phone interviewing, everything will work itself out.

    If all else fails, ask the subject something you know you won't need, so you can catch up on typing the important stuff.

    I despise doing phone interviews, but I can't be everywhere at once.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    So if you are resigned to doing this by phone and typing in the answers I would suggest.

    1. Don't type everything, only the good stuff.

    2. If you have some kind of formatted questions, type those in advance (but don't just stick to them)

    3. If you have a good, but long answer and are behind, ask a bad question just to buy yourself time. Or repeat, ah, ummm, I see. So you think that Johnny Jockstrap is a cinch for the Heisman Trophy, huh?

    4. Realize that interviewing over the phone should not be your first option if you can avoid it.

    5. Why can't you get one of those recorder thingies for the phone?
  6. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Basically, you need to listen for two things:

    1) Ideas
    2) quotes

    Ideas can be paraphrased. You don't need to write them down or type them verbatim. Just make sure you understand what is being said well enough that you can accurately repeat it in your own words.

    Quotes are almost like soundbites. One sentence. Two tops. You should be able to write those down word-for-word fairly easily. If you can't, then they are too long-winded to be good quotes.
  7. maumann

    maumann Active Member

    I just broke down and bought an earpiece recorder in the last month. You plug one end into your recorder and stick the other in your ear -- and it records both ends of the conversation. Mine cost $30 -- and I'm certain it's already paid for itself.

    I've used it half a dozen times, especially for a number of Q&As that are purely transcriptions.

    It's invaluable, especially when someone calls your cellphone when you're away from your desk.

    A few tips ...

    1. Tell the subject when you've started the recorder and when you've stopped it.

    2. Make sure you state clearly to your subject WHILE THE RECORDER IS GOING that you're asking his/her permission to record the conversation so you have accurate quotes.

    3. Before you hang up, ask them to wait just a minute while you check to make sure the recorder worked properly.

    That'll insure two things: your behind is covered if someone decides to pull the "I didn't know you were recording me" and you won't be embarrassed having to call them back because the recorder glitched.
  8. Spartakate

    Spartakate New Member

    Wow great advice Maumann. I'm going to have to get one of those.
  9. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    You could just learn how to type faster.
  10. Rhouston

    Rhouston Member

    Thanks for the tips everyone.

    Maumann, I'm really interested in this earpiece recorder dealy. Where did you get it?
  11. John

    John Well-Known Member

    The key to typing during a phone interview, other than going fast, is to keep going. Don't worry about spelling or spacing or anything like that, just keep getting down as much as you can. Remember, you can clean it up later.

    And I agree about paraphrasing and quoting. I very rarely use long quotes from a phone interview.
  12. maumann

    maumann Active Member

    Editor's Note: I have no financial interest in such a product.

    You can do a google search for "earpiece recorder" -- there are a number of folks selling the same exact thing from between $30 and $80. I got mine online from Brickhouse Security.
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