1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Best ways of convincing a reluctant source to play along?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by wokattack, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. wokattack

    wokattack New Member

    Hi there

    Spent most of last week twisting the arm of a certain ice hockey coach who was trying to duck out of a potentially difficult/critical interview. It linked in with a voxpop about the future of the team done with fans - and many of them didn't want to take part when they found out I wanted to use both their names and a postage stamp size picture of them in the piece.

    Looking back at the process, I could definitely have gotten my interview and my fan quotes and pictures in a more elegant way (let's leave it at that).

    It got me thinking - does anybody here have any hints/pointers to how you make a reluctant source to speak to you, apart from the old 'well, I'm going to print it anyway and without you saying something, it's not going to paint a pretty picture of you'?
  2. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking this is written in Greek. Maybe Sanskrit.
  3. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    The only way is by convincing them they can trust you. That takes time.

    There've been occasions where I wanted to get a story, was told "No," and eventually got it done as the source became more comfortable.
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    It's always tougher when you don't have a real relationship with the source. However, as far as the fans go, tell them it's their chance to get their feelings out. Make it seem like they should be thrilled to be in the paper. Some will actually buy into that, others won't.

    With the coach, it's a little more complicated. If you want him to respond to fans ripping his team, you have to make clear that YOU'RE not the one ripping his team, it's fans. You also have to have a number of fans backing up the same point.

    "John, I've talked to some fans recently. They feel as though the team is not scoring enough and the problem lies with your coaching style."

    Some guys won't take that well no matter how gently you put it. Like I said, it helps if the coach knows you well.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Vox-pop is a Latin word.
  6. I had never heard that one before today.

    From Google: Vox populi , a Latin phrase that literally means voice of the people, is a term often used in broadcasting for interviews with members of the "general public".
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    If it's minor league hockey, half of the teams will fold in the next five years and the league will find more schmucks to subsidize money losers.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    The most important interview I ever got took me the better part of two years to land. Lots of hemming and hawing from him, b/c it was a topic he didn't really want to discuss. Lots of passive-aggressive dead ends created by him and lots of ass-kissing by me that, in retrospect, sucked out whatever pride I had left in myself. Finally, I was just in the right place at the right time. Found the guy as he was walking alone, said fuck it and went all in [/cliche] and he agreed to do it. Turned out great.

    Then I had a two-minute encounter with him a couple years later that told me more about the guy's character, or lack thereof, than any two-year process ever could. Oh well. Live and learn.

    My advice is to just be patient, be truthful about your intentions, massage these jackasses' egos and don't ever pull the "it's going to run anyway with or without you" card. Then what reason will he/she have to talk to you? Spin it instead as "your input will be incredibly valuable and allow me to paint a fairer and more complete picture."
  9. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I'm familiar with the Latin phrase "vox populi," but I've never before heard it condensed to the word "voxpop" and still can't seem to completely decipher the phrase "linked in with a voxpop."

    I'm guessing "voxpop" is some sort of fan poll/man on the street kind of deal. And the "linked in" part means the interview is somehow tied to this fan poll/man of the street thing.

    Am I close?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page