Last week at my internship, I was given the opportunity to go out with a photographer and film a story. This was the first time that I would be the one asking questions and telling the photographer what I thought I needed, so naturally I was terrified. I spent hours researching the topic so I would know just what to ask. I even asked other experienced reporters for their words of wisdom. I was as prepared as I could be and ready to roll with the punches, until I got smacked right in face. Not literally of course.
It all boiled down to one control freak that was working at the place I was doing my story on. He took it upon himself to piece together interviews with people he thought would be great. Asking them to come in and make time in their day so I could interview them. While I know he was only trying to help, it made my job a lot harder. Not only did it take up a lot of time, it also made it nearly impossible to get footage I needed. The interviews were things I couldn’t use and irrelevant because I had no b-roll of them inaction.
Through this experience I came up with three tips for interviewing, especially for a news station.
Be Forward: When setting up and interview let them know exactly what you need. People who aren’t in the industry might have a idea of how things “should” go, but only you know what you really need.
Have a Plan: Don’t be afraid to make a plan, its good to prepare yourself. Just take into account that things might change. You always have to be able to roll with the punches and keep an eye out for any story that might come up.
Be Polite: It never hurts to explain to people why you are doing something the way you are. Sometimes you have to put your foot down to get what you need and as long as you’re nice about it most people will understand.