Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Running out the Clock

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Interviewing can be a dark art because sometimes, people have ulterior motives. And among them can be the intention to burn up the interviewer’s time forcing a message through by; (1) Blaming the people who got it wrong worse than you did, (2) Giving a very long and detailed history of what you’ve done right, (3) Attacking the interviewer by telling them they are asking the wrong questions and wasting time or (4) Talking about something else entirely.

I’m listening to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on NPR with Robert Segal.  As much as we like to think that dulcet tones and years of respected journalistic training would give Mr. Segal the kind of moral authority to fairly guide an interview from start to finish, it doesn’t always happen.  Especially when you’re talking to a politician who has been on the defensive for her job, her party and her president for a few solid years.  So when the conversation turned to the problems with the Affordable Care Act website, it was gloves off.  She’s gotta be tired of it.  To be honest, neither party has been behaving the way they expect us as citizens to.

This post – – makes reference to two SNL skits that I wrote about at the time because they point out what the interviewer can do when they want to take control of the interview. But “The Talkover” is something guests can do too. When a listener hears it, they wonder “They keep talking over each other.  Are they going to have a fistfight?” When the interviewer hears it, they think “I will get the last word here. You just don’t know it yet, even if it’s ‘GOOD-BYE;”.  And the interviewee thinks, “My message is the most important thing, whether I’m telling my truth or trying to divert you from yours.”

Yep, sometimes interviewing can be a Mosh Pit.

Written by Interviewer

October 29, 2013 at 06:28

Posted in Scratchpad

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