Get that Rapport

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I’ve talked about getting tips before, but not how you go about establishing the rapport with sources to get opportunities like that.

It’s easier said than done, like many other aspects of this profession.

You have to be friendly. Don’t be over-friendly (which can get weird), but, rather, guide the source through your questions. Think of it like you are driving a bus. You are “driving” on a “road” to get your questions answered. You don’t want to take a detour because you want to keep the source comfortable. You have other goals, but your main concerns should be a balance between those two.

You can’t always get a source to open up and talk to you. You have to get to know them and remember what you know about them. As I’ve said before it’s almost like a game. The questions and answers, with the help of the rapport you do have, can make or break your story.

If you have to make flashcards on your most frequent sources, by all means, go ahead. It’ll save you the hassle of memorizing specific things about your sources. As you’ll find out, there are  many sources that your paper will use that, at times, it can be tough to keep up.

At the Chronicle, we have about 15-20 pages of names and numbers of people that we call on a pretty regular basis. It’s tough to keep track of them all, but we all keep adding and removing names on a daily basis.

Be sure to put the source at ease. Ask the easy questions first. “Drive” them through the interview. Each source has a different way of talking—a different personality. You have to “play” to those differences while you are talking to them.

Just make sure you don’t argue with your source, but that’s another post.

Jonathan

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One Response to Get that Rapport

  1. Pingback: Getting the Scoop « Just Starting Out

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