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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    At a women's professional sporting event, I encountered a blogger who was at least in her mid-20s and said she was in "star struck" by interviewing professional athletes.

    In addition to saying that "professional athletes aren't really special" and "interviewing is just part of the job," what hints should I share with this woman to make post-game interviewing go better for her?

    My thinking is that interviews are a way to get information from the subject and to include elements in your story you otherwise could not.

    My thinking is if there is a specific matter you want to discuss, ask about that first. If not, go generic, like "what is your opinion of your team's play today" and just go from there.

  2. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Was the woman star-struck because of her fandom, or star-struck because of the high profiles of the individuals involved?

    If it's the first, it's a lost cause. If it's the second, you've done it right. Just also remind her that these professional athletes are humans as well, and just to try to act like she's casually talking with them about something that happened.
  3. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    This is not a slam, but I haven't said "what is your opinion of your team's play today?" since I was 15.
    There are a thousand better ways to say that, without eliciting the same generic response over and over again. Bad quotes are evil. Pure evil.
    Make an observation, and lead in with that.
    "Your guys seemed pretty aggressive on the basepaths tonight, was that a strategy?"
    "The XXX shot 1-for-12 on 3-pointers, were you trying to force them outside?"
    With coaches, I trust them to expand on their answers, and not just give yes-no.
    But try to go with more than: "What are your thoughts on the game?"
  4. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Seconded. If anything, I use that as my icebreaker while I get the pen cap off, the notebook ready, etc., just to start building into the real questions.

    Though I will admit there are occasions when that question works pretty well. "I think we blew," and so forth.
  5. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I understand your point, but I think you can also go too far with the type of examples you gave, where the reporter is either trying to wedge quotes into a preconceived notion or else show how smart he/she is. There is nothing wrong with open-ended questions. You never know when the source will take you someplace you wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
  6. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Yeah, sometimes an icebreaker is not a bad thing. Hate to open the interview with "You haven't scored in the last month. What the heck is wrong?"
  7. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    See, now, I love that. It establishes some sort of level playing field between you and the coach, and, at least for me, truly opens up a coach. At least at the prep and college level, I think coaches like to have a conversation, rather than just spout out answers.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I'm strange in how I deal with being starstruck.

    I get nervous about it before I go up to the celebrity, then I'm nervous after I've done the interview. But when I'm in the middle of the interview, I'm in work mode and I'm not nervous.

    Happened to me when I interviewed Dick Gregory when I was a student.
  9. Agree wholeheartedly here. I think there's a perception out there, fueled by YouTube and ESPN sound bites, that some of the coaches are there are more antagonistic than they really are. I worked with a coach most people would consider one of the larger penises around, but when we were in that press conference setting with him, after a few years he knew us all so well that there was definitely some great give and take. To the point that sometimes he'd laugh after a series of tough questions and say, "Hey, I see the same thing you guys see!" Or, as we went up to his table to collect tape recorders, he'd look at us and say, "Fair questions, fair questions."

    Never be afraid to ask a direct, even tough question. From what I understand AP really emphasizes this with their reporters, and it's good advice. I think coaches and athletes are far, far more annoyed by writers who soft peddle around what they really want to ask.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I don't even need to click that link. What an answer.
  12. hpdrifter

    hpdrifter Member

    Thoughts? Yeah. Why does this person have a credential? Must be some blog if she's nervous interviewing a women's pro athlete (no knock, just, ya know, they aren't the biggest names in sports). Asking for advice is good. Maybe it's because I'm not starstruck or nervous around "big names." Only once did I let that affect how I did my job.

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