Copy of presentation
Interview questions relating to England’s Rugby loss to Wales on Saturday 26/09/2015
Answers from Vox Pop style interview
5 useful quotes from interviews
“We just have to try our best to win against the Australians”
“It’s boring and a brutal sport”
“If we lose it just shows we’re crap at sport”
“It’s like gambling if you go for the win you could lose it all”
“I would never play it myself”
England’s Rugby match Saturday proved to be a very difficult time for fans, losing to Wales 28-25. This puts England at risk of not qualifying for the world cup, if they lose their next match against Australia, making England the first host country to not qualify. The English team sustained 4 injuries during the game. Many have blamed the loss on Captain Chris Robshaw’s decision to kick from the corner rather than going for a try to secure a draw, “it’s like gambling” one member of the public said “if you go for the win you could lose it all” when asked to comment on Robshaw’s decision.
Research in journalism is mainly used to check for a bias and to collect information for an article. The main responsibility of a journalist is to hold power to account and this cannot be done with the necessary information.
There are two forms of sources which can be further broken into two more categories. These being secondary and primary which can be further broken down into official and unofficial. An example of an official secondary source would be a press statement, an official example would be twitter or facebook from members of the public.
Primary sources are those which are directed by the author of the article. This is usually through interviews. This is original information and includes trying to personally experience the story, personally checking facts first hand, contacting those involved with the story and to conduct interviews.
The benefit of an official source is it factually information and if verified and correct. However this is just PR and can be biased and withhold information.
It is important to identify the questions you want to ask before going into an interview, you need to know the answers you want to get in order to acquire relevant information you want for your article. Doing an interview will add both a human element as well as giving the article a form of validity.
There are two main types of questions, open and closed. Open questions leave it open to broaden the topic of conversation such as – how are you? Close questions are looking for a specific fact/answer such as – how often does this happen to you?
A vox pop is when a journalist interviews 3 or more people on the same topic asking the same questions to get a public opinion.
Analysis on interview
While I am pleased with the overall outcome of my interview I believe that my technique could use some practise. In my interview there were a lot of opportunities to gather more information by asking further questions to clarify the opinion of the person being interviewed, and a lot of information I could have tied into my questions to follow on to get further opinions based on answers given. For example after being told they thought it was a “brutal sport” I could have led into asking their opinions relating to the injuries sustained during the game, which I did mention but didn’t ask for a comment on. In order to improve this I will try and take this into account with future interviews and, instead of commenting on what the person has said, use this as an opportunity to lead into another question or ask for them to elaborate on a point. For the most part I believe this will come with practice, and therefore will continue conducting practice interviews with peers.
I believe that I used eye contact well when asking questions in order to make the interviewee feel they were being asked a direct question and is good interview etiquette. I listened well and took notes on what they were saying, asking if they would remind repeating certain points I wasn’t clear on. While in future I believe this won’t be an issue due to the use of voice recorders I think it would have been better to avoid having to ask for clarification if possible as it may come across to some that I was not listening intently enough.
In terms of my article while I used found a lot more quotes from the open questions I did not use them as I don’t think they were relevant enough to include in a short 100 word article as it did not tie into any of the factual information put across in the flash article. Therefore I found the closed questions much more valuable based on how I got specific opinions relating to a section of my article I already knew I would be including. In this respect I think I picked my questions well, as I had a base outline of what facts I wished to get across in my article and aimed for my questions to replicate this. While open questions are good in a more personality based interview, when the story is factual based a more focused answer provided through a closed question was of more value to me.
I did find however that the open questions did allow for a lot of lead on in terms of opening up conversation. This then allowed for me to focus in how they responded and use this to flow into a closed question. This allows for the interview to flow better and makes the interviewee feel more comfortable and allow them to answer questions more naturally as it flows more like a conversation. In this regard I think opening with an open question and following up with a closed questions is a good way to go about interviews I conduct in future. This allows to gauge the knowledge of the interviewee on the subject so I can pick or word the closed questions taking this into account.
I think I gave across a good sense of my questions and was clear in how I spoke and explained any possibly unknown information through the question. I also thought that my research helped to give me a good knowledge base on the article since I did not know anything about the story being looking into it. This allowed me to then give the interviewee any information they may not have, this is especially good for getting a base reaction to someone who may not be actively following the story before being impacted by personal bias.
I found I have a quite calm and friendly tone of voice when interviewing and this allowed for the person being interviewed to feel more relaxed and not worry. I think this is an important skill to perfect and one I will continue to try and develop, as someone who is interested in being interviewed and enjoys the company of the interviewer will supply more in depth responses to someone who they find talking to a chore.
Vox pops serve a very important purpose in the journalism industry. As a primary source of information it helps to humanise a story and often makes a story feel more reliable as it isn’t just facts and figures and official statements which can carry a bias in the way they are presented. This also ties into the issues of secondary sources such as press conferences being used as a PR tool where they word the facts in a way to support an agenda and can withhold information to give a certain portrayal. Having this source of primary information allows for people to feel more comfortably believing what has been said in the article. It also allows for a journalist to express the opinion of the general public (at least partially) which makes readers trust the article more.