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Tested out a "new" interviewing technique today

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Matt Stephens, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    There are a lot of veterans on this board, so I'm sure some people have tried it, but I thought I'd share.

    There's a high school football QB battle going on and after writing plenty of stories about how neither of them have pulled away, I decided to take a different approach for my column in the fall sports tab.

    It's gotten to the point that even though I'm new to the area, I know exactly what answers the two QBs are going to give me before I ask. Maybe it's because I'm relatively new and they're not used to me enough to feel comfortable and candid. After covering a single college team for the past four years, I think I kind of took advantage of the fact I was on first name basis with just about every player and their parents -- starting a new beat, it has been an interesting transition.

    So, instead of just talking to these guys after practice and writing a predictable column about my thoughts on the QB battle, I grabbed a football and when they came up to me I told them "take your pads off, it's hot."

    We started talking about football, then I tossed one of them the ball kind of casually and he threw it back, all of the sudden the three of us were playing catch and they were open books, talking about off the wall stuff that really showed their personalities, giving me details I never would have gotten asking them straight up. They would burn each other big time, but then come back with an anecdote on a detail of the other's life they respect.

    Our ASE has been preaching the importance of making an interview subject comfortable, especially when writing features.

    Just thought I'd share this method I tested out today for anyone else who has someone they talk to a lot who seems rather closed off.

    Figure I'll be shooting hoops in the winter and throwing a baseball in the spring for the same reason.

    YGBFKM Guest

    I hope you never interview a serial killer.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    How can Matt Stephens top himself now?

    The real question is how do you get accurate quotes if you're busy throwing a football instead of taking notes?
  4. Scouter

    Scouter Member

    Duh. He memorized it all. He's the new Capote.
  5. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Voice recorder, baby. And Capote couldn't pull off the hat like me.
  6. I'm looking forward to your interview with the pole vaulter on the track team. ;D
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    "Take off your pads... It's hot out..."

    Cue the porn music...
  8. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Or Pee Wee Herman.
  9. Situation

    Situation Member

    .... and the heavyweight wrestler.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    When you interview the receivers, don't have them go deep on every question.
  11. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    I should add, I think it was a quick-thinking and smart move. And with the recorder, there shouldn't be any issues with accuracy. It's obviously a more comfortable way for them to open up (sounds dirty) than sitting them down at a table during fourth-hour study hall. Just try and make sure it doesn't turn into a schtick.
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    "Now that your pads are off, how about I rub those tired shoulders..."
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