Make the Extra Call


^^^That’s almost the same kind of phone I have at work. I’d be lying if I said I know what all of the buttons do.

If been saved on many occasions by making an extra phone call for a story on deadline.

Call it luck or whatever you want, but it’s happened and all it takes is about four minutes.

We all know having the interpersonal skills are extremely important in order to be a good journalist. I know we’ve all heard it a a million times, but it’s so true. You can’t be a shy person when it comes to this job. You have to be quick, witty and a bit annoying to get things done.

Each day you’ll end up talking to a number of people you have never met before, but that’s the way it is.

It’s actually pretty fun. Most people you’ll call already know why you are calling, but that’s okay. For me, it’s a little thrill to call someone new on deadline. You have the “pressure” of working on deadline, coupled with the fact that you need this person, and possibly others, to talk to you. It’s a “fun” kind of stress. At least, that’s how I see it.

You need to have the confidence in yourself to do all of that. Obviously, practice makes perfect.

Be sure that the people you are calling are actually relevant to the story. You can try and call everyone on your phone list, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll be helping you get the story done on deadline with useful quotes. It’s just another thing to be aware of when you are close to deadline.

In a pinch, it really pays off to make some extra calls. I cannot stress that enough.

I don’t care if it only gets you an inch more for your story or not because it really makes the story better when you have more than one person talking. Keep in mind that when you have more than four or five people quoted (depending on the story), the story can get a bit crowded

You’ll thank me later. Even if you think the story is fine, make the extra call. You don’t have to use whatever the source says in the story, but it’s a good practice to get used to.

All of this may read like overkill, but what do you have to lose? Calling more people gives you more to work with for your story and gets more perspectives into the mix. I really think it makes the story more interesting and helps to personalize it for the reader. Of course, it depends on the story. Some stories are pretty straight forward and others need a few more sources in them, especially if the story has differentiating opinions.

It’s all just another thing to think about.



2 Responses to Make the Extra Call

  1. Pingback: Ask Why « Just Starting Out

  2. Pingback: Interview Tips Vol. 3 « Just Starting Out

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