Professors of journalism seeking a compact, dense textbook and budding journalists or professionals wanting to hone their craft need look no further. Interviewing: The Oregon Method, comprised of 28 essays written by the faculty and friends of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and edited by Peter Laufer, includes decades of wisdom with a modern approach. There is a little overlap through the essays, and are primarily written about different aspects of journalism. The writers sift through their own personal experiences from their novice days, through their decades-long careers, and to how the digital revolution has both changed and not changed their approach. Some parts of interviewing will always remain the same, as Lauer succinctly defines in the introduction, “If we think of an interview as a medium, and environment, we can envision interviewing as a space in which two organisms seek to convey understanding through interaction.”
“Each of us is the owner of a life. Each of us wonders how to best use it. Each of us is fascinated with how others use theirs.”
The first part of the book covers the basics: how to gain trust, how to make a good impression, how to handle quotes, etc. The essays move into the nuances of different types of interviews: profiles, scientists, different cultures, victims of tragedy, etc. The ethics of interviewing, such as obligations to the interviewees versus public are discussed, as well as the legalities of gathering data and privacy. Interviewing tactics for different platforms, such as Skype or Second Life, are suggested. A few journalists expand upon the art of the interview and creative courage, but it is clear that all of these writers share the same passion for interviewing. The final essay leaves the reader on a positive note: how can stories help people by showing what’s working and what’s possible? With the inclusion of a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, there is not only a considerable amount of knowledge in this book, but also wisdom.
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