Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Sawatsky Approach

For J800 we had to read a piece by Susan Paterno from 2000 called The Question Man about reporter John Sawatsky and his method of reporting. Of all the things that I've read thus far this semester I found this one article the most helpful.

Basically the idea behind the Sawatsky approach to reporting is that when an interview fails and a source doesn't open up it is usually because the journalist asks the wrong questions. What he means by that is asking a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no, will always generate that singular response and won't force a source to elaborate. If you ask open ended questions like how does that make you feel, or what do you think about that will force a source into talking at least a little bit more.

This might seem like a pretty basic concept, but in all of my journalism instruction no one has bothered to point this out. I think that remembered to revert to open ended questions if an interview starts to go poorly is something that could save an interview and avoid wasting your and your sources time. This approach is definitely something I'm going to try using in the next interviews that I have to do for class, namely the two feature articles that are due in October for J800.

I also have to point out that he is Canadian, which makes me think of my friend Cassi, which makes me think of this:

1 comment:

  1. Best. Song. Ever. Haha. But really, I do love it far too much. Thanks for sharing it with the world. Also for being awesome. Both.