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Interview help: cameras vs. notepads

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by the_rookie, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. the_rookie

    the_rookie Member

    Tonight, it was 2on1. Two media outlets, one interviewee. The TV guys got off the first Q, so I thought, "Alright, I'll take next." That didn't happen. So, I waited...and waited...8 or more questions later -- which were really simplistic -- they turned off the camera and I began.

    Also, I stood through my first actual multi-newspaper interview (two sports writers working their charm) and kept my mouth shut, because I knew I didn't have a decent question and didn't want to interrupt.

    Is there any tips you got for not letting these camera folks continuously ask questions? Never been to J-school, but I figure this is something you learn on the street, not in a classroom.

    And, is there a link which provides tips for interviewing. i.e. what makes a good question and what doesn't, etc...

  2. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    TV folk -- If you and your subject have time, what you did isn't a bad idea. If you don't have the time, jump in where you can with a good, strong voice and trade a few nasty looks for a chance to get your quote.

    Good questions -- Unless you need short, specific answers, open-ended questions are the way to go. Try not to ask questions with one-word answers, and if you get one of those, try to get them to expound further. If your subject says, "We deserved to win that game," make sure to ask why.
  3. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    Wait out the TV folks. Take notes or record the quotes their questions elicit, and then when they're done you get a virtual exclusive. You'll have twice as much material to choose from and might have the chance to break something they can't if they've shut off their cameras. If you're working on a great storyline or a potential scoop, don't let the TV folks know by inserting your questions while they're rolling. Of course, a lot of times they'll stop asking questions but keep the camera on while you ask yours.
  4. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member


    1. If the TV person is doing a formal taped 1-on-1, with a reporter and a mic, almost as if they were "live," most print people will let them do their thing-- it'll usually be over in about one minute. If you break up a formal taped 1-on-1, the subject will be annoyed with you.

    2. But if it's just a photographer asking questions in a free-for-all, you need to be more aggressive. Jump in. Interrupt. 9 times out of 10 the subject will want to give somebody else a chance.

    3. Don't worry about other people's questions. Worry about your own, and more importantly, your subject's answers.
  5. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    If it's a practice where I am not on deadline, I'll let the TV guys do their business. Most guys/girls will become more comfortable once the lights of the TV camera are gone, anyways. If I am on deadline, who gives a damn about their questions about how the fans were that night.

    As far as other print media, I see no problem in standing there once in a while. It's happened to me where I go up to a guy w/ a specific question in mind and someone gets it out before I do. But don't make a habit of just standing there. It can be annoying to sit there and talk with a guy for five minutes, working hard to get the answers you need/want and someone else just sits there with their finger on the record button.
  6. MrWrite

    MrWrite Member

    Your questions are probably not as dumb as what the TV guy was asking (or not asking, since usually TV guy questions don't actually end with question marks).
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