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How many times are you going to ask me that?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by alleyallen, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    General journalism kind of question here...

    Let's say you know there's something brewing with a team (we'll use a small college team as an example) and you ask the coach for details and he says no comment. You try asking the question a bit differently and again get a no comment.

    Now, you know this coach pretty well and you know that if you ask him again, he's going to say no comment again.

    My question is, how often and how frequently should you ask the same person the same question knowing you're likely going to get the same response? Do you ask 50 times hoping that after the 49th time he'll be so frustrated he'll just blurt out something?

    I ask because it seems to happen all too often that a coach will be asked a question, refuse to answer, then get asked the same question over and over and over by other reporters or the same reporters. Is his answer really going to change or is it doing more harm than good by hitting him repeatedly with the same query?
  2. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Refusal to comment = to me, license to write whatever the hell I want about the speculated topic as long as it isn't libelous.

    Hey, he refused to comment.
  3. Twice.

    You: "Coach, is it true that Joe Player killed the stripper?"

    Coach: "No comment."

    You: "So, you are saying that the rumors that Player killed the stripper are false then?

    Coach: "I'm not going to comment on anything to do with that. We are here to talk about football."

    Then go find out more about Joe Player's run-in with the stripper and ask again once you have more to go on:

    You: "Coach, have you seen the YouTube video of Joe Player killing the stripper...."

    Coach: "Yes, and I just want to say on behalf of the staff and players of the Cincinnati Bengals that we are going to stand behind Joe Player while he fights these charges."
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Depends on how long the interview is. If you can get a lot of questions in, I've tried variations on the same question four or five times. Sometimes you can sneak it in there after you've changed the subject. Sometimes you wear them down.
  5. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Until he walks away...
    Then, when he walks away, you leave 10-12 voicemails on his office phone.
    Now, this is where the average reporter would stop. You then call his home 6-7 times. You don't want to go overboard here, so use discretion. Then, call the wife's place of employment, ask for her manager. Call his cellphone, tell him cordially that you will talk to him in the morning.
    Works every time.
  6. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Are those instructions on how to stalk the coach or how to get an answer? :D
  7. spnited

    spnited Active Member

  8. MC Sports Guy

    MC Sports Guy Member

  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    A bigger problem to me than how many times folks are willing to ask a question are the reporters who allow someone to get away with a vague answer that doesn't really say anything without even following up or challenging them on it.

    Too often reporters fail to recognize the nuances of what someone said. They ask a question. Get an answer in English and don't even consider what the answer actually means.
  10. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    You could probably devote a whole J school class to the art of asking strong follow-up questions. Reporters sometimes don't pay attention to the answers because they're already thinking ahead to the next question.
  11. Babs

    Babs Member

    Agree, which is why I record the interview rather than taking notes, because then I can actually LISTEN to what they are saying without distraction. I can also watch facial expressions, which often tell you a ton.
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