Thursday, August 28, 2014

1989 Quake Headline

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Asking for the Interview: Nanette Asimov Schools a USF Student

The Interview
The Interview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Chron reporter responds to an interview request from a USF student. This is like a mini textbook.


            Glad you wrote. Forgive me if I don't make this easy for you. The thing is, I can soooo relate to the situation where I'm trying to reach someone to interview them on a deadline, and they aren't calling me back.

            So not only is the art of the interview part of learning to be a journalist, but so is snagging the interview in the first place.

            I’m happy to help. But rather than just say, oh, you can interview me, I would rather say, let's try to get you to get your preferred subject  to be interviewed by you.

            We can work on it together if you like.

            First things first: When is your deadline?

            Also, I don't know how hard you tried to get your interview, and that is definitely part of this. Did you merely send an email? (If so, I scoff a friendly scoff.)

            I would suggest that you pick one person. Start with a second email. Acknowledge that you've already sent an email but haven't heard back so you thought you'd try again. Say why you are asking to interview this particular person. Do him/her the favor of saying what class this is for, what your deadline is, and how long you expect the interview to take by phone.

            Do not, not "interview" someone by email because that's not an interview. It's a questionnaire. An interview is a conversation, and you might even have questions about what the person is actually telling you, which you can only ask over the phone.

            Another thing you should say in your email is that you’ll be calling the person in a little while. And then call. If you get the voice mail, leave a message and invite the person to call you back (leave the number, of course. So many people don’t bother, thinking phone will capture it. It won’t.) And also say that you’ll call back again.

            Also try to reach the person by Facebook and Twitter. .

            Is all of that too annoying? Persistence is the thing I’m trying to convey here. Persistence and giving your subject enough information to tantalize them into responding.