Running an interview requires journalists to think on their feet and to be skilled with multiple facets of asking questions and helping the subject feel comfortable enough to open up.
The finished product of a good story doesn’t show the hardest parts of interviewing. The reality is that even the best journalists struggle with parts of their job.
In this lesson, students will be encouraged to think of themselves as “explorers of the world” and will consider the value of asking “how” and “why” in an interview. They will also consider the importance of anticipating that things will not always go smoothly.
In this lesson, we will consider how to broaden our journalism for multiple purposes:
- Students will build interviewing skills
- Students will build reporting skills
Common Core State Standards
|Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
|Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
|Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
Presentation: 55 minutes, with discussion
Slideshow: The power of how and why
Video clips embedded below
Part 1: The Power of How and Why Review the slideshow and discuss how students might consider themselves “Explorers of the World”
- and how the questions “how and why” made a difference
- and how their first impressions were dispelled upon reading the story with the photo
Part 2: The Interview Running an interview requires journalists to think on their feet and to be skilled with multiple facets of asking questions and helping the subject feel comfortable enough to open up.
- Watch the 3-minute interview excerpt from 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper
- Prime students by asking them to take notes about all of the attributes of good interviewing they can spot in the clip. Remind them that Anderson Cooper is a professional and they should consider all of the ways he connects with Eminem.
- As a class, discuss their results. Students might note the following:
- Cooper is curious, asks “how and why”
- They are in a comfortable place for Eminem – his “environment”
- Cooper has done research about Eminem and uses that to deepen his questioning
- Cooper is easy with his posture, works in humor
Part 3: The Reality of the Interview The finished product of a good story doesn’t show the hardest parts of interviewing. The reality is that even the best journalists struggle with parts of their job.
- Watch the 6-minute “Behind the Scenes” video Interview with Anderson Cooper, in which Anderson Cooper shares all the unpredictable moments that happened on his 60 Minutes shoot with Eminem.
- Prime students by asking them to take notes about what Cooper says are some of the
hardest parts of interviewing.
- After watching the video, discuss what Cooper says are some of the hardest parts of
interviewing and how he handles them.
- Ask students to discuss in small groups the potential hiccups or problems with interviewing their peers, teachers, coaches, and administrators, and how they might handle those problems.
Students who might struggle with “on the spot” curiosity and questioning can develop a series of interview questions that include “how” and “why” follow-up questions. They may practice their interview questions with other staffers and then with their peers.