Are you asking "green-light" questions in your interviews?

In an interview, questions can be keys that open a door to a person’s life or beliefs. Or, they can act as padlocks, barring you from discovering the information and stories you need to do your job. Good questions make the difference between an answer and a quotable answer. Reporters just starting out often blame taciturn sources -- stonewalling police, … Read More

How to include solutions in your interviews on social issues

Solutions journalism offers rigorous and compelling coverage about responses to social problems. As part of your reporting, consider these approaches to interviewing a wide range of stakeholders, including the people enacting the solution, those directly affected, detractors, funders, academics and more. Replace “Whodunnit?” with “Howdunnit?” In solutions journalism, what matters most is the wisdom found in the actions of your … Read More

How to prepare for an interview with a source

The effective interviewer knows what he or she wants from an interview. That’s what John Brady, author of “The Craft of Interviewing,” thinks. The interviewer is like a chess player, he says, never moving a piece or asking a question without a greater purpose. Here’s what to ask yourself at the outset of reporting: What do I want to know? … Read More

USF's The Oracle bans email interviews, following other student newspapers

The Oracle The University of South Florida's student newspaper The Oracle is no longer allowing email interviews, except under rare circumstances. In a letter to readers Monday, Editor-in-Chief Divya Kumar said an increasing number of sources are requesting email interviews in hopes of having more control over their message. As a newspaper, is it our job to provide readers with the truth, directly from the source — not from the strategically coordinated voices of public relations staff or prescreened e-mail answers. We don’t think these responses provide our readers with the unvarnished truth, and we will no longer include them in our articles at the expense of compromising the integrity of the information we provide. University departments do not have one, centralized voice, but rather are made up of a multitude of diverse perspectives. Kumar alluded to the value of face-to-face interviews and phoners, and pointed out that the truth isn’t always eloquent. Read More
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