Ethical Tips in Interviewing

Sources are the water that brings life into our news articles. Without them, where will we get the facts?

The most common way we journalists do to obtain facts is through interviewing key people needed for our story. Generally, there are three types of interviewing: the appointment interview (a scheduled one in a certain time and place), the ambush interview (typically happens on a closed coverage wherein you approach the key person(s) directly) and online interview (happens on social media, usually in private messages).

However, interviewing seems to be a daunting task for amateurs. They are the ones prone to experiencing shyness and intimidation, especially when interviewing public figures. Other than that, they are also more likely to act unethically while doing the job.

How do amateurs get past through the barrier towards professionalism? Here are some tips discussed during our News Writing class, headed by our professor who’s a correspondent of a prominent national daily.

  1. If you are to resort for a scheduled interview, let your source decide which place are you going to meet and what time (unless you have your own reasons).
  2. If your company has a press I.D., wear it. (Probably not applicable for citizen journalists.) People doesn’t have to guess who the heck are you.
  3. Be courteous. And approach the source in a humble manner. Greet them and introduce yourself. And ask them first if it’s okay to interview them.
  4. For a one-on-one interview, maintain eye contact with the source to him/her know that you are listening. Don’t forget to smile
  5. Ask the source first if he/she wishes to be anonymous or not.
  6. After the interview, thank them and do whatever you can to express your gratitude.
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