First and Last Interview Questions

There are two questions broadcast students should use in the field, in the studio, wherever they are having those important conversations with the characters who populate their stories.

First, you can start with this one:  "Can you say your name and spell it for me?"  This gets some necessary information out of the way that reporters need later on when they put the piece together.  Hearing the person say their name aloud gives you the proper pronunciation.  Spelling the name makes it pretty difficult to mess up the lower third, the caption you place under the interview subject the first time the viewer sees them during a sound bite.

But there is a final question that works great for those "people" stories or in-depth profiles; it really gives subjects the freedom to provide some great nuggets of information you might not otherwise learn during your interview.  

As you wrap it up, ask this:  "If I had known you better, what would I have asked you?"

Les Rose, the CBS photographer, shared this technique years ago, and it has always stuck with me.  So I tell students to give it a try, and they have gotten some pretty great results from it.