Ten tips for wannabe journalist:
1. Don’t Wait For A Story To Come To You
Go looking for story ideas. Once a week, I walk up and down the main street in Selinsgrove and talk to local business owners. They deal with the people in town every day and they are full of great news tips.
2. Ask the Extra Question
Sometimes it feels like an interview isn’t going anywhere. Don’t get discouraged! It’s important to keep the conversation going. Sometimes it just takes people a little while to get warmed up. If you aren’t sure whether you should ask another question, just ask it and see where the answer leads!
3. Carry a Pencil
Even a brand-new pen can stop working at the absolute worst moment. (Especially in the winter when it is really cold! Pens with ink sometimes won’t work then.) Digital recorders and cell phones can also go bad. That is why I always have a pencil with me. I learned this lesson the hard way.
4. Keep Moving
Remember, most people won’t want to talk. That is okay! You are going to be turned down ten times for every one person who agrees to speak with you. Just keep moving on to the next person who can help move your story forward. I promise, it will be worth it!
5. Shut up and Listen
The most important part of an interview isn’t the questions you ask. It’s what you hear. I’ve seen reporters interrupt the person they are interviewing in order to ask another question. Follow-ups are key, but the goal of every interview is to get to the truth. How can a reporter be listening for the facts while she is talking?
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