Interviewing 101

I want to start out this post with the fact that I have never, ever in my life seen so many people with crazy dyed hair in one place than at this convention. No judgments on the matter, I just think it’s interesting.

Anyway, I attended possibly the best session I went to all day called Interviewing 101. I consider my weakest point as a journalist the process of the interview (I know, that’s pretty bad,) so I wanted to get some tips from the pros.

The speakers, Michele Boyet and Devin Desjarlais are two current part-time students at Florida Atlantic University who also hold jobs as real-life reporters. They were also both editor-in-chief of their school newspaper at some point. They first ran down the five most important tips for a successful interview, and then took questions.

The 5 tips were:

1)   BE PREPARED

–       This keeps you and the interviewee calm

–       “Know the answer before you ask the question”

–       Maintain your credibility by doing research.

2)   Have an idea of what you’re going to write about

–       But you shouldn’t be married to the idea

3)   Don’t be afraid to interrupt

–       Clarify instead of run something that you don’t understand

4)   Manage up

–       Blame your “evil editor” if you need to get more info from a source…

–       And make sure you get that info!

5)   FOLLOW UP

That list is so useful, and I will always remember these tips when I’m stumped. I tend to get flustered at interviews, but now I have a list and plan of attack. I’m a list kind of girl.

Funnily enough, these students from FAU are students of Michael Koretsky, who taught the Chicken Salad sessions about design and storywriting, so that explains why they’re so knowledgeable (slash cool people). I’d blog about the Chicken Salad thing, but I was having so much fun I completely forgot to take notes. I’ll let Gabby tell you all about how much she LOVED that session. I did too… but no notes. Alas.

– Lauren Ramsdell

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