Tag Archives: interviewing

Reporter shares how pandemic has sharpened her remote interviewing skills

Photo: Bill Dickinson via Flickr

Reporting feature stories about COVID-19 and its impact on Americans is more critical and more challenging than ever.

These stories usually would involve dozens of hours of in-person interviews; something journalists won’t be able to do for many months to come. What kinds of stories should we tell in our communities and how can we report them?

Jessica Contrera, a writer for the local enterprise team at The Washington Post, has some ideas for journalists, including tips on reporting from a distance, getting people to open up and tell their stories in detail and interesting angles to explore.

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AHCJ freelancers contribute to new book on science writing

Several AHCJ members are part of a new book, “The Craft of Science Writing,” which was published at the beginning of February. The 300-pager, available for $10 as an ebook and $25 as a paperback, is a collection of articles from The Open Notebook, which covers the stories behind science writing.

Among the more than 35 contributors, AHCJ members include Christie Aschwanden, Jeanne Erdmann and Kendall Powell. You’ll also recognize The Open Notebook editor Siri Carpenter, Washington Post health editor Laura Helmuth, New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer, and many more. Continue reading

Some do’s and don’ts when interviewing people with disabilities

NPS Graphics via commons.wikimedia.org

As I write this blog post, I’m scheduled to interview two individuals for a story based on a study about autism and its link to an increased risk of certain comorbidities. One person is an autistic adult, and the other is the parent of an adolescent diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

At this point in my career, I have spoken with many autistic individuals and count several among my friends, but before I had known anyone on the autism spectrum, I likely would have felt a bit of initial uneasiness: Is there anything I should or shouldn’t say or do? Will they communicate in ways I am familiar with? Will they understand how I am trying to communicate? Continue reading

Reporter’s advice can help you get past sources’ jargon

Kathleen Doheny

Kathleen Doheny

If you’ve interviewed anyone with an M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. or Sc.D. after his or her name, you know: It’s often no easy feat to get your sources to speak in everyday language.

You start off the interview asking a simple, straightforward question but get a reply that, should you actually use it verbatim, is bound to make your editor cry, at best.

Freelance journalist Kathleen Doheny has come up with some strategies to coax more usable language out of sources. Find out what the “java approach” is, ways to suggest to your source that they use more reader-friendly words and how to coach them through the interview.