Sunday, 6 December 2009

How to...

Write a news story

Main questions before starting: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If possible, answer these questions in the first line.

The pyramid structure: start the story with the most important facts. The first sentence has to give the most important elements. Then retell the introduction with more information.

Things to remember:
● It's about people, not objects. How can the story be relevant to people?
● Try to name people
● Don't be passive , have an angle
● Don't start a news report with a question
● Be objective - don't describe news as bad, good, tragic etc.

● Quote people
● When writing: one idea per sentence, write short and active sentences, reduce and simplify words.

Do an interview

First things to do:
Understand the subject
Have a list of questions - but use them only as a guide
Decide of a location/time
● Anticipate problems: "What could go wrong? Can the interviewee become aggressive? Can he/she say inappropriate things on air?" Interview Guy Goma

There are two types of interview:
●Informational interview: you gather facts and establish information - experts, eye witnesses, police etc.
●Confrontational interview: you put forward somebody's point of view and you challenge them to balance the argument.

There are different kinds of interview:
●Press conference: plan well - you must get a question in a press conference, otherwise there's no point in going.
● One to one
● Vox pops: interview people in the street - don't do it too often
● Doorstepping: an aggressive and unpleasant way to interview people; don't do it unless you don't have the choice.
● E-mail - not reliable
● Death knock: get information about someone who died from their relatives.
● Profile interview: for features usually.
● Celebrity
● Telephone
● Down the line

Starting an interview:
● Give your name and who you work for
●Dress appropriately
● Get the basic details right - name, age, adress job, family details.
● Check that the technical equipment is working
● Try to put the interviewee at ease
● Listen to the answers and ask supplementary questions
● Body language: nod, tilt your head, lean forward, smile - don't talk while the interviewee is speaking
● Use silence - don't be afraid to say nothing for a few seconds. Silence can be a weapon!

● Ask open questions - thus you'll get more information
● If you don't understand, ask another question to clarify the answer
● Keep questions short
● Use leading questions - "Where you angry ...?"
● Don't use loaded questions - remain objective

Tough questions
● Leave the tough questions until the last minute
● Warn the interviewee that it's going to be a difficult question to answer
● Use a shield - "People say that you..." don't attack him/her directly
● If he/she won't answer a question, suggest an answer
● Point out that a "no comment" statement would sound very bad.


Chris Horrie said...

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