Gathering Info



  • Your interview begins with trust and ends with a story.

TV Broadcast, web video

  • Rules are the same as print
  • Objectives and techniques are different
  • TV journalism is a performance. We have to capture their attention and hold it, because we have to overcome the click factor. Barbara Walters interview with Mike Tyson, Robin Givens. Use words and body language together to convey a story.
  • Goal: A soundbite. Rephrase the question if you need a better statement.

12 Basics of Interviewing

  1. Even if you record, back it up with notes.
  2. Learn as much as you can about the subject before the interview.
  3. Bring into the interview a list of questions in the general order you want to ask them.
  4. Do not be tied to your list of questions.
  5. Write down in your notebook key phrases.
  6. If the subject is speaking too fast, ask them to slow down.
  7. As soon as you can, after the interview, look at your notes. Fill in the gaps from memory.
  8. Annotate your notes.
  9. Don’t just write down what you hear, but also what you see.
  10. Be polite and respectful.
  11. Arrive early to check out the scene; stay late to gather final thoughts.
  12. Call back a source to gather something you missed or to check the accuracy.

  • An interview for print conveys information.
  • An interview for broadcast conveys emotion.
  • A good interview always has good questions. Barbara Walters says she prepares 500+ questions per interview.
  • Email is last resort.
  • Open ended vs close ended


  • Attribution: telling readers, viewers, where your info comes from
  • Direct Quotes: exact words; use quotation marks; move the story forward. Make a quote its own paragraph. Something unique, something memorable, something important. (Format: “Words,” name said.)
  • Indirect quotes: a paraphrase; still use attribution.


A. People

  • Interviewing process
  • Primary vs Secondary vs Official
  • A journalist’s obligation is to go to primary sources whenever possible.
  • Primary source: person who saw something happen

B. Stored Sources

  • Attribution: always tell your audience, where the information comes from.

C. Personal observation

  • Information you gather by observing something.
  • Adds detail.
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