Tips for “person on the street” interviews,” excerpted from “Rules to Interview By” at poynter. org. The author is Leslie Rubinkowski, an assistant professor at West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism.
— Be brief and friendly, yet businesslike. Don’t walk up to people with a “sorry to bother you” attitude. You’re a professional so you should act the part. It goes like this:
– Approach someone. Identify yourself and explain what you’re doing.
– Request permission to ask a few questions.
– Ask for the person’s name and where they’re from.
– Again, be brief and look for follow-up possibilities.
– Save tougher questions for near the end of the interview.
– Verify names — especially spellings.
– Thank the person — remember that anyone who consents to an interview is doing you a favor, whether they are getting anything out of it or not.
– If they story is being published, let the person know where and what your name is again.
– No matter how rude someone is to you, be polite. Be businesslike. Remind the person you’ve approached why you’re there and, if you can, repeat your question. If the situation doesn’t improve, walk away. And don’t take it personally.