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Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

Do We Need Open Interviews?

redcurtainI realize that I may have harped a bit on Vox.com recently, but that’s because it’s new and doing work worth noticing. This week, via a tweet from Jay Rosen, I noticed that they had a toggle feature on an article. You can read the story and then toggle over to see where the pull quotes came from.

It’s a cool feature and one that I think many journo professors and media navel gazers think is necessary. We used to edit because we were limited to column inches. You can fit everything and anything on your website — so why not go for full disclosure? I get it. Open interviews are good for transparency, add value and all of that.

But is everything really fit to print? Read more

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3 Rules for Getting To Sources On Social Media

While it’s easier than ever to read about what people think online, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier to reach them. Trying to get Hillary Clinton on the line is like trying to get to Beyonce — you probably have to have a good reason and a good connect.

Although, when I wanted to talk to the person for a story, out of my five extended networks, I have been able to reach people through Twitter (just not Hillary Clinton, yet). You don’t want to interview people on Twitter, but social media is a great way to get to someone you don’t already have an email or phone number for.

1) Bypass The Direct Message

I hate direct messages on Twitter, even more the Facebook kind, and don’t get me started on LinkedIn. If you’re going to DM someone, I find it’s more efficient to tweet right at them. Maybe it’s annoying (reporters are annoying), but I like the idea of making their phone buzz and forcing them to get back to me. If you’re going to message, you might as well just dig up an email, or guess at one.

2) Respect Their Time

Get right to the point. Tell them why you want to talk to them — they can figure out who you are easy enough with enough clicks. And ask, don’t demand. Just because you reach out to someone doesn’t mean they have to respond, especially last minute. Be humble, but forceful.

3) Be Worth Knowing

New York Magazine dug up the reporters and publications that Congress members follow on Twitter. If you just use social media to retweet links and share your own stories, start editorializing. Don’t you want the school board president or council members to know who are? This way, the next time, they’ll reach out to you.

What about you? What’s the most unorthodox way you’ve gotten a scoop or an interview?

Is Journalism Ready For the “Open Interview”?

Would you ever let a subject put your interview on Youtube for everyone to see? That’s what Chad Witacre, the founder of online gift exchange program Gittip requests for each and every one of his interviews — something he likes to call an “Open Interview.”

The philosophy behind an open interview, to Witacre, is supremely simple: as a transparent company with an accessible open source API and clear funding partners, it only makes sense to bring out discussions with the media to the general Internet community and ensure users that there’s literally nothing to hide.

“With journalists I’m much more comfortable requesting openness,” Witacre writes in his article on Medium. “They’re writing for the public record, and it benefits readers and keeps us both honest to have the raw material on record as well.”

Read more

Are Email Interviews That Bad? Yes.

Email me your questions and I’ll get back to you.

It’s the journalistic equivalent of “your source is just not that into you.”

It’s no secret that politicians, big shot business execs, or even the PTO presidents running a car wash fundraiser don’t want to sound silly in print. We all know that the current trend of quote approval is a slippery slope to selling out. But is conducting an email interview the same thing?

Poynter reported this week that many universities are  banning email interviews for campus newspapers. The rationale is that email interviews allow for implicit quote approval – the interviewee has full control of their answer, polishing their responses – and that the email format inhibits the search for truth, best found in face-to-face interviews, or at least over the phone.

It’s nice that universities are banning email interviews; it puts the value back into the act of journalism, something that’s nice to instill in journalism students. It also seems like they were finally fed up with their own universities’ public relations staff — something I can relate to. Have you ever tried to get an interview with a university president about their endowment? They’re worse than actual politicians.

I, however, am torn, because I have used email interviews to compose a story and I admit: I sort of liked it. 

Read more

The Do’s and Dont’s of a Twitter Interview

The Twitter interview has become a strange, somewhat mythical beast in digital journalism. Using a 140-characters-or-less platform can seem like a journalist’s heaven or hell, depending on how you like to gather your information, but there’s no doubt that the so-called “twinterview” has become de riugeur  for journalists of all kinds.

However, it’s not the end-all-be-all of cutting edge techniques, and you should never settle for a “twinterview” unless it specifically fits for your story’s needs and goals. Here are a few quick tips to recognizing when and why reaching out to contacts and sources through Twitter can be useful, and how it can be a flop for other situations.

Have you conducted an interview over Twitter? Tell us about it in the comments.

DO: When Breaking Journalism Happens

If a major event happens, conducting a series of short interviews via Twitter can be the best way to find out what’s going on from people who are living it — especially if you can’t get there yourself. On Friday, BuzzFeed’s new LA bureau gathered information about a harrowing hostage situation at a Nordstrom Rack in a Westchester Mall and the related lockdown of a nearby movie theater by reaching out to those trapped inside on Twitter.

The result was an overwhelming success. BuzzFeed got an inside glimpse into the situation by those who were in lockdown, and received valuable, real-time information as it happened. A situation like this, where an outlet gains unprecedented access to an emergency, perhaps wouldn’t be executable without Twitter’s openness and quick information transfers. Don’t be afraid to use it when you’re looking for information on emergencies and other breaking news happenings, because it could lead you to the best sources out there. Read more