Another reporter came to McAlester’s home football game Friday night against Bishop Kelley, a school from Tulsa. I don’t know who he wrote for, but he seemed to have no interest in interviewing McAlester’s head coach.
I always interview the away team’s personnel first because they tend to leave the stadium sooner, so this guy and I tag-teamed Bishop Kelley’s coach.
I’ve done group interviews like this before, and I know I’ll have to do more of them as I begin to writer about higher-level and higher-profile teams. But or this particular interview, I found the other reporter’s questions to be very broad and not particularly good — maybe one level above “what does this win mean to you?”
Normally when that happens, I ask better questions, then use the quotes the coach gives me and ignore the rest. But when I wrote up the game Saturday, I found the answers I used all came from the other guy’s questions, not mine.
Now some of this may have been because the McAlester people I asked gave better answers to the same questions I asked the Bishop Kelley coach. On any given play, after all, either coach’s perspective can work.
But maybe in certain settings, more generalized questions might actually work better than more specific ones. I’ve always hoped I’ll never develop the bad interviewing habits I see in more experienced reporters (asking how something “feels,” saying “talk about” instead of asking an actual question), but this experience showed that sometimes even crappy questions produce quality answers.
Here’s everything I wrote this week (that I remembered to put online).