Interview Tips Vol. 3

This is my third installment of interview tips. My goal is to continue the series moving forward with pointers and advice.

Go Over Your Notes

Reviewing notes, after an interview, is crucial. Closing that file or putting away your notebook right after an interview is a bad idea. You can’t hurt your notes, with the interview still fresh in your mind, by going over them.

It allows you to find out anything you may need to follow-up on. It’s better to go over to see whether they be terms you don’t know or quotes that need clarification. You’ll save yourself from making a mistake and your source will respect you for making sure everything is correct.

Writing a story with notes that you aren’t 100 percent confident with isn’t a habit you want to get it into. It’s a good habit to go over your notes after each interview. It always makes for a better story and, frankly, makes your life easier.

To e-mail or not to e-mail

E-mail isn’t an efficient way for reporters to get quotes. I don’t like it. I use it maybe 15 percent of the time for sources that I know are usually busy and hard to get in touch with.

I highly recommend making that phone call on deadline. It’s faster, easier and you won’t have to wait for that e-mailed response. Leaving a message at someone’s desk is, I feel, more professional and simply the right thing to do.

E-mail is a valuable tool, but it can also make a reporter lazy. You cannot rely on that form of communication. Why offer to do the phone interview in the e-mail, when you can just make the call in the first place.

I must admit that, since  I’m in the office early each morning, I do send e-mails before 8 a.m. because most people aren’t in their offices then. There’s a mutual respect that’s in play there. I don’t call people before 7:30 a.m., unless they’ve told me to. In that instance e-mail is okay, but it can’t be your only form of contact with that source.

Think about it.



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