Posts Tagged ‘journalsim’

Asking tough questions in interview

December 1, 2009 2 comments

Ask tough questions; put some pressure on the person you are talking to; bring up some heat; and “bang”, you make a good interview.  Is that really a GOOD interview?

Mike, our radio lecturer, taught us some valuable rules for interview:

  • don’t make statement; ask questions;
  • make your questions short;
  • don’t ask double-barrelled questions;
  • be informative naive

Apart from that, he stressed “asking tough questions”, and did a live demo in class by interviewing one of the students. He called it the “bang” moment.

Are interviews really about asking challenging questions?

Who won?

In BBC’s Today program this morning, James Naughtie interviewed Pamela Taylor on the prospect of reduced water bills (click to listen). Pamela is the Chief Executive of Water UK.

At around 02:40, James appeared aggressive, and rudely interrupted Pamela to “question” her. You can even hear him breathing while Pamela was talking. Was he still excited after throwing out a tough question?

Then at around 03:05, he sounded so eager to bring Pamela down and you can almost tell that he was laughing inside.

At 04:43, he tried to convince his listeners that he succeeded in trapping his interviewee by stating the controversy in Pamela’s talking.

Keep on listening, you’ll see that James kept on challenging Pamela all the way till the end of the interview.

What makes a good interview?

Is James’ interview with Pamela a good one?

Not to me, at least. Simple put, I didn’t feel comfortable with the way he treated his interviewee.

Judging from above criteria for good interview, James did a good job, but he appeared to be following the “asking tough questions” rule to an extreme, which made him sound as if he was superior to the person he was talking to.

My reaction to that was “who the hell do you think you are?”

It’s hard to tell what a good interview is, but it’s easy to tell what makes a bad interview–an interview that makes your listeners uncomfortable.

An art

Some classmates said they didn’t like the “aggressive style” either.

I would put it this way:

  • asking tough questions is okay, but they shouldn’t dominate the interview;
  • do not use them at will because they DO NOT make you look or sound smarter;
  • when you do ask tough questions, please be polite. Remember you are not a policeman or policewoman, neither your interviewee a suspect or prisoner.

Asking questions is an art, and it takes time to be an artist.


Internet changed, is changing, and will continue to change our life

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The Online Journalism classes will begin next week.

Needless to say, Internet has changed our life. In fact, its daily use is so essential that it now becomes almost impossible for a journalist to work without access to Internet. Even old people are trying to learn to use Internet.

To an extreme, some people become so addicted to Internet that they have to go to a doctor or a psychiatrist for consultation. To find out if you are one of them, you can take this Internet Addiction Test.

What concerns me is that Internet has fundamentally changed the way we study.

We treat information as knowledge, consider bookmarking as studying, mistake reading as thinking, and take it for granted that archiving means having mastered the knowledge.

I have been always amazed by some old people that they remember so many things. They have the habit of learning stuff by heart. Little by little, they form their own knowledge schematism. This is the traditional way of learning.

What happens with the wide application of computers and Internet is that we seldom try to memorise most of the things. We no longer turn to great minds; instead, we just “google” it, and in most cases, we are not disappointed.

I remember someone said this when TV became prevalent:

Whenever someone turns on the TV, I go back to my room and read.

Is there any chance he can still do so whenever someone turns on a computer?

By the way, this is one of the very few quotations I remembered without having to google it.