Interviewing: A Guide for Journalists and Writers

Interviewing: A Guide for Journalists and Writers

Interviewing: A Guide for Journalists and Writers

Interviewing: A Guide for Journalists and Writers

Excerpt

Almost every journalist has a horror story, or two, to tell about their first interviewing attempts—failing to ask questions, not listening to the answers, a tape recording with no sound, or returning to the newsroom practically empty-handed are common disasters.

David Leser says that his first interview 22 years ago, when he was working for The Daily Telegraph as a cadet journalist, is still etched in his brain:

It was my first day on the job and there was an industrial dispute and I had to call management and workers to get a response. This was my very first call for my very first story and I was so nervous that, when the person answered the phone, I promptly forgot not only whom I was calling but why I was calling (2001: 8).

Cadets' interview training often consisted of watching a senior reporter for a few days before being let loose to sink or swim, despite the fact that interviewing is an integral part of journalism and professional writing. In fact, Ken Metzler believes that ‘good reporting is about 80 per cent interviewing’, and goes on to ask, ‘What is the point of being a good writer if you have nothing of substance to convey through your writing?’ (1977: 133).

Bob Jervis agrees that ‘interviewing is the most important . . .

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