In his talk today Steve Dawson gave several tips on how to do a good interview:
- Ask Open-Ended Questions
- Set the Answer Free (ask questions in a way that doesn’t restrict the possible answers)
- Don’t Interrupt
- Don’t ask double-barreled questions
- Listen to the answer (and follow up)
The most interesting thing for me was how some of the things he said was good journalism was not what is necessarily done by many actual journalists. For example, he says that interviewing isn’t about you looking good but about allowing the person interviewed to express themselves. Obviously, looking at many shows on TV where famous people are interviewed that is not what many interviewers actually do. Another thing he said was that hard news should be about simply presenting all the facts without bias. Again, in a lot of cases, even with credible newspapers, even hard news has a heavy degree of bias. What Steve Dawson has presented seems to me to be an ideal of what he believes journalism should be. What journalists actually do in a world where the goal isn’t “good journalism” but viewers, fame, furthering political agendas, and cash may very well be quite different.