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D) Participate in the discussion. (You have only five minutes to talk.) Be prepared to answer any question arising in the course of the discussion.
9. Interviewing people basically involves asking for opinions and expressing personal opinions. Next come some cliches you may use for this purpose:
Asking for opinions: what's your opinion of; what do you think of; how do you feel about; I was wondering what your opinion of (tentative); what about (informal).
Expressing personal opinions: in my opinion; from my point of view; personally, I think that; it would seem to me that (tentative); as far as I'm able to judge (tentative); as I see it (direct); frankly, I think (direct); I reckon (informal).
In the course of an interview there definitely come moments when some clarification is asked for and given.
Asking for clarification: I'm sorry I don't quite understand what you mean by; I'm sorry, could you explain by; I'm afraid, I'm not really very clear about what you mean by (tentative); I'm sorry, but could you possibly explain what you mean by (tentative); did you mean that; do you really think that; did you say; but you said earlier that; I don't understand what you mean by; what (exactly) do you mean by (all rather direct)
what I'm trying to say is (that)...
The point I'm trying to make is (that)...
Well, I what I mean is (that)... (tentative)
What I mean is (that); What I'm saying is (that)... (both direct)
All I'm trying to say is (that)... (informal)
to be frank...
Well, (strong, blunt)
If you are asked awkward questions the following cliches may be useful: I'd like to think about that one; let me see; the best way I can answer.
Another "delaying tactic" is to repeat the question you have been asked.
10. a) Below you will find some information on the work of a TV journalist and interview techniques:
Most journalists have had considerable experience as interviewers before they come to television, but there is a vast difference between the casual questioning which takes place in the quiet comer of a pub or over the telephone and the paraphernalia of lighting, camera equipment and perspiring technicians.
The newspaper journalist is able to phrase questions in a conversational, informal manner, interjecting now and again to clarify a point, jotting down answers with pencil and notebook. Questions and answers need not be grammatical or even follow a logical pattern. The same ground may be gone over again and again. The printed page on which the interview appears does not communicate these facts to the reader. In television, journalistic judgement and writing ability alone are not enough.
It is undoubtedly true that a screen interview of any type, live, filmed or videotaped, makes considerably more demands on the person conducting it. The essential requirements include an ability to think quickly to follow up topics outside the originally planned structure of the interview, and a capacity to marshal thoughts in a way which builds up logical, step-by-step
answers. Each interview, however brief, is capable of taking 01 a recognizable shape. Questions which are sprayed in all direc tions as topics are chosen at random only make the live inter view difficult to follow and the recorded one doubly hard tc edit intelligently. In any case "the office" would much prefer tc select a chunk of two or three questions and answers which follow a logical progression.
The actual phrasing of questions needs to be considered, Too many inexperienced reporters tend to make long, rambling statements barely recognisable as questions at all. At the other extreme are the brusque, two- or three-word interjections which do not register on the screen long enough if faithfully repeated as cutaways.
Next come the cliches, of which these are very useful examples:
How/What do you feel (about)... ? Just what/how much/ how serious... ? What of the future... ?
Then there is the tendency to preface virtually every question with some deferential phrase which is suitable for general conversation:
May I ask... ? Do you mind my asking... ? What would you say if I asked... ? Could you tell me... ? Might I put it like this... ? but each of which invites curt rejection in a TV interview. Without proper care, however, questions which are too direct are quite likely to produce a simple "yes" or "no", without further elaboration.
As for the general demeanour, every interviewer should be polite yet firm in pursuit of answers to legitimate questions, refusing to be overawed in the presence of the important or powerful, or overbearing when the subject of the interview is unused to television.
The reporter's real troubles begin, however, when he does not listen to the answers. The pressure on a questioner conducting a film interview can be almost as great as on the interviewee and it is all too easy to concentrate on mentally ticking off a list of prepared questions instead of listening, poised to follow up with an occasional supplementary. If the reporter lets this happen any number of obvious loose ends may remain untied.
b) Based on your interpretation of the article enlarge on the following:
1. It is easier for a newspaper journalist to interview somebody than for a journalist working in television.
2. A screen interview makes considerably more demands on the person conducting it. The actual phrasing of questions needs to be considered. Open-ended questions should prevail over close ones (requiring "yes" or "no" answers) in an interview.
c) Comment on the following view of one of the American Journalists, "... a television interviewer is not employed as a debater, prosecutor, inquisitor, psychiatrist or third-degree expert, but as a journalist seeking information on behalf of the viewer."
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