So for the lack of posting lately—between finals, the holidays and an unexpected computer crash, I’ve been a little busy. Any way back to business: Today’s topic is going to be about things to expect from people when you’re a journalist.
You may think that your job is simple. Find out what’s going on in the area. Ask questions. Report the news to the people. It sounds simple enough, however, depending on the topic, your job as a journalist can get a lot more complicated.
Here are few things to anticipate and how to work around the issues:
- People get nervous the second you inform them that you are a reporter. This can make them tounge-tied. The best way to handle this is to be sociable, nice and comforting. If you have to, ask them a lot of questions, so that out of fifteen or twenty questions, you’ll have at least one or two quotes that will be usable for your story.
- Others will refuse to talk to you on record (and sometimes even off record). You can’t force someone to make a comment or agree to an interview. Move and find an equally reputiable source that is willing to be interviewed.
- Some people will try and retract what they’ve said after reading it in print. So, just as a way to protect yourself, always use a tape-recorder during interviews. First, this will ensure that you get the quotes correct. Second, it will give you something to show your editor when a person tries to retract a quote or claim that they were misquoted by the reporter.
Do you have any tips or tricks of trade? Let me know. Follow me @Miranda_Cain.