Monthly Archives: October 2013

Best skills for a successful interview

A good journalist must be a good writer and full of imagination person.  Furthermore, it is very important if he has great interviewing skills.  A theme is becoming alive when a journalist takes an interview for it.  The interviewee will make the article more direct with his quotes and explain paths that will colour the article.

The interviewee will not start talking and provide you all the information by himself.  The journalist must work on his interviewing skills and be prepared to get the best information and create the best story he can, through his interviewee.

Journalist Simon Hattenstone says, “the best way of finding out what people want to know? Ask them.”  You must be honest and have the courage to ask difficult questions.  Of course, you must NOT become rude.  Remember that you have to respect the person opposite you, like you want him to respect you.  Some themes are sensitive for several important figures, and a journalist has to respect the possibility that the interviewee might not want to answer a deep personal question.

Being polite and having a good attitude towards your interviewee will gain you the trust of the person you are talking too.  Keep in mind that you are trying to write a story and the person you are interviewing is the source of the information you need;  so you better not behave rudely towards them.

Also, a journalist must be confident and relaxed on his interview.  He must be able to gain the attention of his interviewee and attract him to open himself and talk.  It is like you are having a conversation at a cafe with a friend.

Likewise, the interview must be done at the perfect time.  If you are obligated, choose an hour early in the morning or during the weekend;  during these times, your interviewee will be more relaxed and happy to answer your questions.

reporter_interview

An interview must be also well prepared.  For example, the interviewer has to prepare his questions before the interview;  read about his interviewee, learn things about him, read some of his previous interviews and write down the best questions that can derive information from that person.

Mirta Ojito, from the New York Times, believes that, “you have to try to know almost as much as they do about their subject, so it seems we are ‘chatting.”

The best questions for  journalist to use are the open-ended ones.  Those beginning with “How?” “What?” “Where?”.

According to reporter and feature writer, Chip Scanlan,

these words are conversations starters and encourage expansive answers that produce an abundance of information needed to produce a complete and accurate story.

Closed-ended questions are also very helpful since they put people on the record.  For sure, you must never use double- barreled questions because they give the interviewee the opportunity to avoid the difficult question and chose the easy one.

According to journalist Sarah Stuteville ,  flow of your questions is the most important skill an interviewer can develop.  She urges that a journalist must achieve a balance in the conversation and always think what he will ask next and why.  This flow of questions must seem natural and conversational.

Stuteville believes that,

you must not spin your subject off on a completely different topic just because that’s the next question on your list.  Think about segues and transitions. This way your subject doesn’t feel forced to give you soundbites and may open up a little.

Decca Aitkenhead‘s interview of  chancellor Alistair Darling, is a good example for a very good interview.  Above the fact that it is very lengthy, you can figure out in it how the journalist managed to have a ‘discussion’ with her interviewee and help him to open himself out through her questions.  The interview is well flowing and it is like you are reading an action story and wait what you will read on the next page.  She also took the interview while the chancellor was on vacations at his home. The timing is very important because she talked to him, when he was not under the stress of work and stuck under long working hours.  Additionally, Aitkenhead interviewed Darling at a time that he seemed willing to talk.

There are hundred of skills that can make someone a good interviewer.  Each one has his own tactics and methods that help him to have the best possible interview.  Just remember that an interview is good only when the interviewer is interested and curious on the subject.  With this way he will manage to have a nice discussion with the interviewee, manage to get the information he needs and provide to the readers an interesting reading peace.

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Rebirth of the Extreme Right: Its effect on the European sphere

Unite Against Racism, Fascism and Islamophobia Demonstration London

Unite Against Racism, Fascism and Islamophobia Demonstration London

Decades after the Second World War, we are now face to face with a new rise of the extreme right parties in many European countries.

These right movements vary from country to country; some of them name themselves Fascists, other Neo-Nazis and other members of a Far Right Political party.  However, the result is the same; the Far right is growing dangerously.  The question is one: How can we stop this emerge and protect next generations?

The majority of Far right political parties were created decades ago and just found the opportunity now to emerge.  PhD Candidate at the Department of Politics and International Studies of the University of Warwick George Iordanous believes that,

The rise of the Extreme right is not a phenomenon that started in the 21st century; for example the Golden Dawn in Greece was created in the mid 70’s and got stronger during the last years because of the economic problems of the country.

Several people believe that the main reason of the reappearance of Far Right movements is the economic austerity and the problems this creates.  Like Hitler managed to have hundreds of thousand followers due to the economic uncertainty, the same will happen in the present time with the Far Right movements.

George Kyris, the course Director for the MA in International Politics and Europe in Warwick, believes that

Hardening economic conditions in EU member states and external pressures (like immigration) have favored a nationalistic discourse.

Economic problems increases the number of unemployment and creates psychological problems to young people who have nothing to do, feel disappointed for not having a job and blame the recent government for that. (channel4)  Europe is straggling and the Fascists grabbed the opportunity to gain the favor of the people.  For example, the Gold Dawn in Greece managed in 2012 to elect 18 MPs in the Greek Parliament, at the first elections the party was taking part, while the National Front in France with Marine Le Pen has been raised from its ashes and gain power once again.

Different governments are also blamed for the increase of popularity of these parties.  The people are disappointed by the existing European governments, which have the same policies for decades.  For example, the French are disappointed by their government over the highly important themes of immigration, security and unemployment; so they decided to punish the large political parties by voting the extreme right party, National Front. (National Post)

George Kyris believes that

the Eurozone crisis has certainly damaged the popularity of parties that are considered responsible for economic problems.

Through this statement we can realize that economy and politics through their unsuccessful policy agendas are equally connected with the rise of the Extreme right movements.

But is the problem only for the country members of the Eurozone?  The answer is no.  The same is happening in the UK where the UKIP and BNP are increasing the number of their followers and becoming stronger.  According to recent polls in the country, there seem to be an extensive hostility towards immigration and the EU.  Also, according to James Bloodworth, the debate over ‘benefit tourism’ and the advantages that immigrants can have in the health system gives the opportunity to these parties to widespread their extreme policies, like closing the country’s borders and become independent from the European Union.

The BNP Hold A Demonstration In Central London

The BNP Hold A Demonstration In Central London

Many of the members of the Far Right parties are people who are pure Fascists, go to the demonstrations and are ideologically connected with the Far Right.  They have tattoos with the emblem of the Nazis and adopt the Fascist attitude which is characterized by high levels of aggression.  This ‘passion’ however seems to be fake;  for example when the MPs of Golden Dawn in Greece got arrested a few weeks ago, many of their followers had a tattoo removal so not to be recognized as fascists from the outraged crowd.

Nevertheless, how threaten is the expansion of Fascism and their propaganda to young people?  According to Iordanous, “The 21st century youth has the idea that it is cool to be a Fascist; like the trend of dislike the immigrants and the political refugees”.

The Fascists in the UK are using social media to attract potential followers.  They use Twitter, Facebook and create YouTube videos where they set out some themes that attracts the people and keeps the movement alive.  A recent theme that concerns the people is the dangers of immigration and political refugees which the Fascists use to increase their supporters.  The Fascist also knows that cultivation of children is far easier than the one of older people.  For that reason, their propaganda platform also consists a summer camp in Essex, where Far Right ideologues contribute to proceedings according to Paul Jackson.

The rise of the Extreme Right sounds very dangerous and has horrible results.  Gary Duncan, from the Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition believes that,

The role of fascism is to hinder the development of the working class and ultimately destroy its organizations and prevent it from reaching power.

Considering next May European elections, there is a great threat that the European government will be composed by anti-Europeans.  This is “a major threat of paralysis” Francois Hollande warned.  According to Kyris,

Worsening economic conditions in the UK have caused opposition to more basic elements of European integration, like the free movements of people, and particularly the migration from new EU member states.

This is a result of the nationalist agenda of far right parties in the UK, which made the conservatives to be harsher to their decisions in order to keep their voters who are moving to the side of the UKIP. (RT)

The Extreme Right is a problem that must not remain on papers.  It must be transmitted into actions.  Gary Duncan mentioned that,

All political differences must be put aside so that unity prevails and fascism is successfully countered by a mass movement.

Of course, actions must be taken on a democratic platform.  “It is undemocratic to criminalize far right political parties since you have to respect the percentage of that party’s voters”, warned George Iordanous.  European MPs urged that the EU has to pay more attention to citizens’ concerns and investigate the activities of Far Right organizations in order to find the roots of the problem and solve it.  According to George Kyris, “European governments have to think of solutions for the problem of immigration and focus on the social element of the economic crisis”.  Established economic policies have to change and the destroyed standard of living has to rise up again.

In Britain, like in the whole Europe, anti-fascist movements take drastic actions to stop the rebirth of the Fascists.  The Europeans has suffered a lot from previous Fascist governments and do not wish to face the same problems.  European governments have to support the determination of the citizens and regain their trust.  Drastic measures have to be taken so that the people feel again secure in their country and understand the real intentions of the far right movements.

Good Stories, Good Reporters, Strong Sense

Everyday we read hundreds of stories from several journalists.  There are plenty of sources for a good story, which journalists are responsible to figure out.  Each reporter has a unique habit that helps him to have the very best production of great stories.

I truly believe that a good reporter must have great senses and always be ready to cover unknown subjects that will probably derive from a story.  Each immediate story hides a secret subject.  For example,  behind a murder case you will find the reasons that lead the murderer to kill and learn about the family and personal life of both the victim and the abuser.  That is why a good journalist must be interested on the whole subject he covers and try to derive new , more interesting subjects from the story he is covering.

Tor Constantino believes that

If you ask the hero of your story broader questions , you will receive golden information and quotes

Indeed Constantino’s idea is a very effective way for the discovery of new stories.  In case you are taking an interview related to the story you are covering then why don’t you try to catch your interviewee attention, attract him to open his heart to you and if his background is mysterious, try to uncover it!

A good reporter must always be prepared to grab the opportunity and transform an information into an interesting story.  A good reporter must be open and quick-minded and ready for anything.For example, if you are covering live news you must hear to what each person has to say.  Maybe most of them will just talk about the specific event, but maybe one or two person’s will analyse the story in more depth and give the reporter a new theme to work on (Kevin Loker, July 2012).

You have to remember that if you don’t have confidence while you are covering a story then probably someone else will be quicker and steal the lollipop from you hands.  It sounds awful to find out a story that had reached the news headlines and your name is not on the writer’s name.

For example, Raymond Anderson of the New York Times attended to the press conference of Aleksandr Ginsberg’s wife after her husband was jailed.  The Russian government warned the reporters that severe measures would be taken against those who attended.  Anderson with three other reporters went to the press conference.  The result?  After a few months he received an essay written from Sakharov, who was challenging the Soviet system.  His story was on the top of the headlines in all over the world (David Randall, 2005).

Showing interest not only to the immediate story but to the whole subject, is a habit that i really want to embedded in my work.  I truly believe that behind a murder there is a reason, behind a criminal there is a terrible family story, behind a successful organisation or company there is a working hard chief,  behind every story there is a different one.  Bare these in mind a reporter will become better and his stories will be not only good but unique, which is for me one of the most important things for a reporter’s story.