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Let's talk about "talk about"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by boundforboston, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    Malcolm Moran on the importance of actually asking a question: http://sportsjournalism.org/sports-media-news/moran-the-art-of-the-question/
  2. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Hate when people do this.
    I'm guilty of using it now and then, usually when I'm doing a 1-on-1 postgame and in the middle of the prep kid's rambling I forget my next question and say "talk about" something so I can figure out what the hell I wanted to ask.
  3. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I've always thought this was navel-gazing bullshit.

    It's incumbent upon the interviewer to know his subject as best they can. If they respond better to a "talk about" question rather than a direct one, so be it.
  4. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    You should reach out to them instead.
  5. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Maybe we should refer to the other 57 threads about this topic on SportsJournalists.com.

    Talk about a subject that's been beaten to death around here. Geez.
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  6. Schottey

    Schottey Member

    My pet peeve with the column is that twice there is clearly a question: "How do you prepare...?" and "Can you talk about...?" and Moran says "there isn't a question." Those are questions. The first one wasn't even egregious. He used "talk about" but also included a ton of information that he wanted specific response to. The second one may be lazy and the answer may be, "Yes, I can talk about it, next..." But, as a piece of syntax, it's still a question.

    Did an interview with a draft prospect last night and caught myself using the phrase twice in a 20 minutes phone interview. Both times I got perfectly fine responses because I used follow ups and did more prodding. In that way, it probably has a little more room in a one-on-one than in a presser where you don't have that back-and-forth.

    TL;DR "Can you talk about...?" may be a stupid question, but it's still a question!
  7. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Malcolm's one of the all-time good guys, and I agree with what he's going for here. I think it's semantics to rail against someone saying "Can you talk about xxxx?" and then suggest, as reform, "Could you explain ..." and "Would you describe ..." -- perhaps more polite, yes, but no less casual an entry into a conversation. Yes, "talk about" is a crutch we should avoid. I'm not a fan of 45-second questions either ...
  8. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    The only thing worse than using "talk about" as a question is crusading against using "talk about" as a question.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I'm sick of this discussion. Half the reporters who mock it are guilty of it at times.
  10. tmr

    tmr Member

    I'll take "talk about" over some reporter rambling on for a minute trying to formulate a "know it all" question.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  11. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I get where they are coming from. They are going fishing, hoping the subject will say something interesting out of the blue. OK, fine. There are moments where you have the perfect question and other times when you got nuthin'.
  12. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    100% agreed.

    You don't get style points for questions. Ask the question however you want. You should be working to get an answer, not to impress other journalists.
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