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How do you guys start an interview?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spud, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. spud

    spud Member

    I saw the one about ending interviews, but I've never had too many problems with that one... it's the beginnings that make me look like an idiot, I'm sure. I usually end up saying something idiotic like, "I've just got a few questions for you," or I just ask how they're doing and launch right into it. Not a big foreplay guy, I guess.

    Is there a better way than that? There's gotta be. Or else I wouldn't feel like a doofas in one-on-ones.

    How do you guys usually start interviews?
  2. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    Like a lot of men, I skip the foreplay and just get down to it.
  3. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I just ask, "Can I talk to you?"

    Sometimes, with the kids that know me, I'll just call their name and they'll come over knowing what I need.
  4. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I try a little icebreaker...
    I shake their hands with one of these...


    Then I say: "If you think that's original, you should see my copy..."
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Depends on if the interviewee and I know each other or not. If we do, then I might make a little small talk and wait for a segue. If it's somebody I don't know, there's little sense doing that so I get right down to business.
    And if it's a crowd situation, where we're looking for man-on-the-street stuff, I'll stalk them for a few minutes.
  6. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Wow. So, you don't use the hand buzzer?
  7. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    With the team I cover, I just chat them up for a minute, then pull out the notebook or recorder and say, "okay, let's get you on the record now."

    Other teams or stringing for another paper, I just introduce myself and ask them for quotes for the story.

    As a former aerospace engineer-turned-cops reporter once said, "This is not rocket science. I've done rocket science. This ain't it."
  8. Do you really say, "Let's get you on the record now?"

    I know you're trying to be casual, but that seems as if it would scare the shit out of someone without much experience at being interviewed. It sounds like, "Let's put you on the polygraph now."

    I think I'd say something a little more off-handed, like, "Would you mind if I turned on my tape recorder?"

    "Can I ask you a few questions?" has always worked pretty well for me.
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    How about:
    "Care for some sodium pentathol?"

  10. grrlhack

    grrlhack Member

    Why make it so hard? A lot of times, even when I'm making small talk, I'll turn my recorder on.

    Usually, it's like this:
    "So how's it going? ...You guys have a tough one this week, huh?"
    Blah Blah Blah...stuff like that as an icebreaker. I usually ask about the upcoming game even when I have no intentions of using it. Just to get them in the flow.
  11. i find this is the best way to do it, especially with those I don't know well

    start out just talking to them with good eye contact and at some point when you sense a comfort level get the notebook out and gradually turn it into the interview

    make the person feel comfortable
  12. I open the jar of vaseline ...
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