What Are You Lookin For?

via midlandconsultants.com

via midlandconsultants.com

To make any interview easier. I always tell my sources how many things I’m looking to talk to them about. I try not to give away too much, but I usually let them know what topics I’m looking to ask them about, as well. It helps to settle the source down and doesn’t leave them hanging too much.

I don’t like catching sources off-guard, but it happens. The people that I talk to on a weekly basis know what I’m calling about usually. Anything I ask them they should already know about. So, giving them a heads up is only courtesy. I know they are busy. Being upfront with them smooths the playing field.

If you call someone not knowing what you are looking for you will look like an unprofessional idiot. Write down your questions if you have to, but you cannot call without a specific “mission” or “topic.”

I really think it helps to be as upfront with your source as possible. Sources don’t like being “teased.” Don’t beat around the bush. If you want a statement, ask for it. If you want to call them out on something, do it. It’s that simple. They are professionals, treat them like it.

And as professionals they want to answer your questions, for the most part. Having a story in the paper is also a way for them to get the news out. It’s free news to them. They usually want to cooperate. So, if you are honest with them, they should be honest back. At least, that’s the hope.

It can get tough, especially with tough topics/stories. Sources may feel backed into a corner and, even then, it’s just easier to be honest with them. Treat them as an equal, as they are, and lay it out for them. They can either answer or say “no comment.” Give them the opportunity to hear you out and decide if they want to answer.

It may surprise you what they say.

Jonathan

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2 Responses to What Are You Lookin For?

  1. Pingback: Bad Question? No Problem! « Just Starting Out

  2. Pingback: People Will Get Mad At You | Just Starting Out

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