Is this really what I want to do? Like, am I even really capable of being in the profession. So far I have to be a wordsmith, a salesperson, and now possibly a psychologist? I really don’t think I’m going to end up getting paid enough for this.
All joking aside, it is becoming obvious to me that being a journalist is something that requires a wide set of skills, and the new skill I know have to pick up is being a successful interrogator. I need to know how to get information out of people using only my words. That’s actually a lot harder than it sounds.
In my limited experience so far, I can already tell that if people don’t want to say something to you, they aren’t going to. Considering most of us probably aren’t police officers, we don’t exactly have the power to make them say anything either. When it comes down to it, interviewing is hard.
Not only are you trying to get information out of someone’s words, but you also have to pay attention to everything else. A communications professor once told me that most of what you say does not even come from the words you are actually saying. Most of what you communicate actually comes out through your body language, so that’s very important to pay attention to. However, that’s rather difficult to do while making sure to take down notes. And then you also have to pay attention to how they say things, like what inflections go where and how long that pause was. Again, you have to do all of this while writing down what they are saying to you and deciding if the next question you had planned to ask them is what you still want to ask or if you should take the interview in a different route. Oh my brain hurts just thinking about all of this.
Interviewing really is a skill that you have to craft, like anything else. To use a recorder or not? How detailed to make the notes. What questions are you going to ask, and how are you going to ask them? Everyone does it differently, so there is no right way. It really is something that has to be practiced. Too bad I’m not really a fan of practicing. The things I do to hopefully have a job one day.