is not only about gathering information. There is a lot that goes behind the
scenes. The information should be factual as much as it may be from reliable
sources. The job is a workflow in this order of priority
simple mistake from a journalist costs huge financial loss to the media company. It involves a costly legal battle.
want to look at creative ways of gathering information from the
public. You have just received a call
from an unknown person at the scene of an accident that has happened miles
away. By the time you arrive at the scene.
police have done their job. You have an hour to report to the news desk about
what happened. The only source of information is either the police, survivors,
eyewitnesses or fellow journalists who probably were at the scene earlier than
work as a journalist is to use your writing skills to make a coherent report
for public consumption.
are some of the creative ways you can relevant and unbiased content
- Conducting direct interview
interaction with the public is among the most recommended ways of gathering
information. It is a crucial skill that needs tact and wisdom. The possibility of
getting participants who give you a hard time is very high.
Consider some of the following factors for a
successful interview with the public
- Set a goal of the information you need
- Repeat questions you think we’re not well answered
- Control the interview using your well-designed questions
- Be friendly and assertive
- Use the open question to trigger an interactive session
- Get a neutral location where possible
your question with these factors in mind and you enjoy your interview with
- Taking photographs
Media personnel has to go out of their way to get information including photojournalism. Writing alone is monotonous. Photographs engage the eyes and trigger the curiosity of the story behind the pictures.
speak volumes and never lie. However, journalists must differentiate between
real photos and photoshops.
public can be cunning in that they retain a crucial photo which is evidence of a story. You have to go out of your way and provide incentives
just to get the image. Some scenes of crime can be hostile to a point taking a
photograph that can cost your life.
not invest in hidden cameras just for you to get the image? Why do magazines
accompany their stories with images? Apart from just the captivating nature; it
captures a reader’s attention. Moreover, it makes the story real, away from a
journalist’s point of view in writing or reporting.
- Telephone interviews
getting a crucial contact for a one-on-one conversation proves futile, and then
a telephone interview is the best option. What if
they agree to conduct a phone interview? Yes, you are on the right track.
only need to have some tips to make the interview successful. Remember, you are
there to get information. How you conduct the interview matters on what
information you get. You are miles away; someone can just give you any
information for you to leave them in peace.
they care? of course, not. What should you do in preparation for that
- Record the telephone conversation
- Research about the interviewee
- Ask leading questions to avoid irrelevancy in content
- Listen more and interrupt the silence
- Make your questions short and precise
- Let the interviewee feel your friendliness from the phone
- End the conversation with a “thank you” note
- Consider these factors and trust me, you will love telephone interviews in your journalism career.
- Direct observation
there is a strength a journalist should capitalize on then it is the
observation skill. Look at the example of a live event broadcasted from
different TV OR Radio stations. You notice the difference in reporting based on
the observation skill of the journalist.
secret to excellent observation skills is to act as an investigating officer.
Look beyond the pictures and get information based on that.
- Conducting research
you get to a scene of the crime without research of the information you need,
you will change roles. The participants become a journalist while you become a
participant. Your vast knowledge comes in handy to enhance your research
you use this form of information gathering, take care of protocols. In case you
were to invade people’s privacy, like going to homes with tight security. You
need to consider the financial loss from the legal battles. On the other hand, you can
also choose from other research personnel with less bureaucracy.
- Tape and video recording
and video stories speak volumes. It is a form of information gathering based on
a case-to-case basis. When you have limited time or the environment is not
conducive for live reporting then multimedia channels come in handy.
is the best way not to miss any information such that when you now make your
final report the information is inclusive.
social media pages of most media stations use video and audio recording to
disseminate information. It is also classified as an evidence-based form of
reporting away from the usual write-ups.
All you need is a good video and tape recorder which can last for hours without going off. A backup plan is crucial, especially when going to remote villages with poorly developed infrastructure.
are at work all the time. Be it at home or on vacation or away from the office.
In society, they are called society’s investigative officer. In case of
anything, people rely on your information for they believe it is true and
Yes, you may have the skill
of formal education. It is not enough; on-the-job training and experience
dictate your success or failure as a journalist. Take advantage of the
resources you have at hand and make good use of them to get information from
the public. They are your second office.