chapter  6
12 Pages

Listen Carefully, and Pay Attention

WithRich Martin

Asking good questions is only part of a reporter’s job. Journalists must also listen carefully, which is a skill that doesn’t come naturally for many people. Chapter 6 draws on advice from expert interviewers about how beginning journalists can sharpen their listening skills. Listening sounds like it should be easy, but it’s not. The good listener understands that the best follow-up questions require close attention to each answer that is given and often diverge from a prepared script. The good listener also knows that the more he or she talks, the less the subject of the interview gets to speak. Listening is an act of humility for journalists because, no matter how much research they have done on a subject, they still don’t know all the answers. The chapter also recounts how good listening skills paid off for Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporters at large and medium-sized newspapers.