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Improving your interview skills


A brief slide show presentation for the Alabama Scholastic Press Association's 2009 fall workshops. …

A brief slide show presentation for the Alabama Scholastic Press Association's 2009 fall workshops.

Prepared by Samford University student media adviser, Kenny Smith.

Published in Education , Technology
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  • 1. Improving your interview skills Kenny Smith Samford University University of Alabama
  • 2. The importance of interviews
  • 3. How can we do that?
      • Journalism's basic questions:
      • Who
      • What
      • When
      • Where
      • Why
      • How
  • 4. How can we do that?
      • Satisfying the questions of classic news values:
      • Impact
      • Timeliness
      • Prominence
      • Proximity
      • Bizarreness
      • Conflict
      • Currency
  • 5. Impact
      • The number of people whose lives will be influenced in some way by the subject of the story.
  • 6. Timeliness
      • Recent events have higher news value than earlier happenings.
      • News versus history.
  • 7. Prominence
      • For the same occurrence, people in the public eye have higher news value than obscure people.
  • 8. Proximity
      • Stories about events and situations in your community are more newsworthy than events that take place far away.
  • 9. Bizarreness
      • Dog-bites-man is pretty routine.
      • Man-bites-dog is bizarre.
      • Going to school every day is the norm.
      • School closings over swine flu is not the norm.
  • 10. Conflict
      • Strife is newsworthy.
  • 11. Currency
      • More value is given to stories covering issues in the spotlight of public concern.
      • Swine flu vs. the sniffles.
      • Football vs. overdue library books.
      • Removed vending machines vs. new cafeteria trays.
  • 12. Preparing for your interview
      • Study -- know your subject thoroughly.
      • Script some questions.
      • Practice.
      • Know the type of story you are writing. (Is it an expose, biographical or investigative?)
      • Shape your questions to produce needed results.
  • 13. Things to ask in the interview
      • Lots of questions.
      • Even the basic ones.
      • Ask a key question a few times in different ways.
      • Persistence pays.
  • 14. Things to ask in the interview
      • “ How do you feel?”
      • “ Why?”
      • The nuclear bomb question.
  • 15. Things to do in the interview
      • Get names and titles.
      • Take notes.
      • Study body language.
      • Ask people to repeat themselves if necessary.
      • Stony silence.
      • Get names and titles again.
      • Confirm spellings.
  • 16. Techniques to consider
      • Ask questions that will help you build a story arc.
      • “ How did you get started doing this?”
      • “ What obstacles have you encountered along the way?”
      • “ How did you overcome them?”
      • “ What is your ultimate goal?”
  • 17. Techniques to consider
      • "Why?"
      • Often the heart of your story.
      • A great follow-up.
      • A great follow-up to the follow-up.
  • 18. Techniques to consider
      • Listen to responses.
      • Don't rush to the next question.
      • Be sure you have the clarification you need.
  • 19. Techniques to consider
      • Short, direct questions. Get to the point.
      • Shut up and let the subject speak.
      • Get their story, don't tell yours.
      • The best responses come after the subject has offered his pat response.
  • 20. Techniques to consider
      • Avoid asking “yes” or “no” questions.
      • Open ended questions allow your subject to elaborate.
      • "Tell me about ..."
      • "What is your opinion of ..."
  • 21. Things to listen for in the interview
      • THE quote.
      • The soundbite.
      • Definitive statements.
      • Emotive statements.
      • But don't get caught up in procedural matters.
  • 22. Always keep in mind
      • This doesn't have to be confrontational.
      • Be polite and courteous.
      • Don't be intimidated.
      • “ What do my readers need to know from this person?”
  • 23. Always keep in mind
      • It's business, not personal.
      • Journalism is an art, not a science.
      • Educational and fun.
  • 24. The last question of your interview What have I forgotten about that I should know?
  • 25. Improving your interview skills Kenny Smith Samford University University of Alabama