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Post-game interviews

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by randomhero423, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. randomhero423

    randomhero423 Member

    I can usually write an article quick, but the thing that makes long is the post game interviews.

    i typically use a recorder and transcribe 'em.

    should i instead write the quotes by hand while the coach/player is talking? how do you get better at that? any tips?
  2. Shifty Squid

    Shifty Squid Member

    For me, it has always depended on what I'm writing, how tight the deadline is, etc.

    For instance, if it's a high school game, and I've got 45 minutes to write 12 inches, I'll use my digital recorder to get a coach and a player ASAP, and I find that I remember the quotes well enough not to need to transcribe. Just skip to the quote I want in the right spot and type it straight into the story.

    If it's a college/pro game, and I've got 1 hour to write 15 inches, I might hold my digital underneath my notebook and try to mark on the notebook the subject of each quote as I divide them in the recorder. That way, my notebook will tell me where to find the quote I want in the story.

    If I've got 90 minutes to a couple of hours, I might transcribe the whole thing out. But I've always found that to be rather time-consuming on deadline.

    As far as getting better at writing quotes by hand, you can read up some on <a href="http://www.alysion.org/handy/althandwriting.htm">shorthand</a> or come up with a shorthand system of your own. Maybe leave out the vowels as you write or whatever. That's the best I've been able to do, but I'm not exactly the best at jotting down quotes as people are talking.
  3. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    I use a recorder too, but on deadline you usually don't have time to fully transcribe. If you can write down points on your recorder as the previous poster suggests, that helps. I usually just write with the tape playing in the background, listening for important parts and grabbing those.
  4. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    After going back and forth for a couple years, I use a recorder, as well. Even though it takes a little more time than writing the quotes by hand, I find you get better quotes with the recorder because you ask better questions instead of concentrating so hard on scribbling down quotes.

    The real key to speeding up the process is to keep the interviews short, and the best way to do that is to know what questions you need to ask before you start asking them. Try to quickly outline the story in your head as the clock is winding down, so you know what kind of quotes you need, and learn to recognize those good quotes when you hear them so you know when to get out of the interview. Don't feel like you have to stand there and talk to the coach for 10 minutes when you know you have what you need.

    That's my two pennies.
  5. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    If it's a one-shot deal, gamer and out, I'll skip the recorder. If it's something where I might want to mine other parts of the interview for later features or off-days, I'll use a recorder. I try to keep a running index like Squid suggests to grab the key stuff quickly for deadline. But some coaches or players talk too fast or are too colorful to rely solely on scribbling.

    Transcribing is surely a required station in hell. If I never transcribed again and could make a solid living in this business for another 15 years, I'd be a happy man. Of course, if I could make a solid living in this business for another15 years, transcribing or not, I'd be happy.
  6. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I believe there are digital recorders you can get that will allow you to break up interviews question by question at the touch of a button. As for me, I just remember what I asked, and keep an eye on my clock to see where an interesting/relevent quote came.
  7. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    I've done both. Lately, I've been a scribbler, but when I have used a recorder it's been mostly for postgame stuff. Scanning over five minutes of tape isn't too tough, even on deadline. The only problem I have is background noise. There's nothing worse than that sinking feeling you get when you get back to the office, turn on the recorder ... and hear the fucking marching band playing the fight song at 150 decibels. For football and basketball, if you're not in a coach's office or a quiet hallway, you should always take notes even if you're using the recorder.

    For longer length features, I'll always scribble. I just hate sifting through 15 or 20 minutes (or more) for a quote. Same with a more formal press conference setting (like college football), where you might get to ask two questions; two or three others that are relevant to your story are asked; and 10 that produce rambling, incoherent, or answers to irrelevant questions are asked.
  8. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    The general rule is the first quote in response to a question is usually the best — not always, mind you.

    That said, if I'm on deadline I'm just asking a few questions, paying close attention to those first few words and jotting them down in my note pad.
  9. WoodyWommack

    WoodyWommack Member

    You (and every other journalist in the entire world) should get one of these: http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/184-7122601-6616523?ASIN=B001AAN4PW&AFID=Froogle&LNM=B001AAN4PW|Livescribe_Pulse_2GB_Smartpen&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B001AAN4PW&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001

    It's incredible.
  10. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Biggest drawback I saw, when I looked at it in the store, was the need to use special paper. Can't just use traditional reporter's notebooks or steno pads.
  11. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    I never liked recorders. Too time consuming, especially on deadline. Over the years, I've developed a personal shorthand that works for me. It's a lot of abbreviations, caps and keywords. People who look over my shoulder and try to read what I'm writing usually ask me if i can read that, and I say yes, I can.

    My experience is opposite to what Pete said earlier. I've often found that the best quote in a post-game situation is the last thing they say. Usually, the subject is prepared with cliches and gamespeak for the first question or two, but will often ramble on and throw out something original once they get past their initial thought.

    One thing, too, that I've found and that's not to be afraid to ask someone to repeat what they said or to slow down a little if you didn't quite catch exactly what they said. Trust me, a player or coach would much rather repeat themselves than run the risk of getting misquoted.
  12. pseudo

    pseudo Active Member

    Great advice, especially about the recorder giving you the freedom to think about your next question instead of furiously trying to capture the answer to the last one. When I mentioned having trouble with that to a good friend (and longtime SE), he reminded me, "You're a reporter, not a stenographer." Still need to write down some of the key points -- for instance, what happens if the recorder craps out? -- but I also like the idea of actually watching the person answer the question, something you can't do as well when you're staring at a notebook.

    Of course, I'm rarely on a tight deadline, so your results may vary.
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