interview a leader 1

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For this assignment, you will write a news story, as if for print or the internet, using information you will collect. This assignment will allow you to develop your interviewing skills.

The target audience is Troy University’s official student newspaper, the Tropolitan, and its website.

This is a class project. You can tell your subject that your story will not be published by the Trop.

Do not make up facts, quotes or other information for this assignment. You may use only the information you learn from your interviews.

The who, what, when, where and why — the interview

You will interview a student leader or another person in a leadership position. You must actually have a two-way conversation with this person, face to face or voice to voice. (The professor calls this a “live” [long “i”] source.)

Your leader can, but does not have to, be a student from the Hall School of Journalism and Communication.

Your leader must be an elected officer of a student organization, an appointed director or editor for a student publication, a member of student government, or a person with a similar responsible position. (If this were a real story, you would need at least three sources. But this assignment is designed mainly to give you experience conducting and writing about an interview.)

For general information, you might want to ask questions such as these:

What is your leadership position?

What is your greatest accomplishment related to your position?

What are the requirements for your position?

What traits must a person have to be successful in your position?

What do you hope to accomplish next as a leader?

What are your suggestions for someone who wants to be a leader?

What tips would you pass on to the leader who follows you in this position?

But your job is not done until you have found and written a story that is likely to interest most readers. Find out what problems (conflicts) the subject has faced, and how he or she resolved those problems. Get details by asking follow-up questions. Keep the reader captivated; don’t put the reader to sleep.

Your job is not to do a puff piece that makes someone out to be a hero, nor is it to do a hatchet job that exposes all his flaws. Your job is to tell an honest story that serves your reader.

Follow these guidelines when writing:

Your lede should reveal something that the person said or did that’s interesting or newsworthy. (Do not start by saying that the person was interviewed.)

Keep yourself entirely out of the story. Don’t use “I.” Don’t tell what the questions were unless it’s needed for clarity.

Keep your opinions entirely out of the story. Instead, give facts — detailed facts.

Don’t write in Q&A format. Instead, write a narrative with mostly your words and a few selected quotations.

Attribute everything the person said to him or her. (See the sample story in the tinted block on Page 85 of “Inside Reporting.”)

Put interesting details and narratives in your story. Don’t put the reader to sleep. Make the story so interesting that the reader can’t put it down.

Your story must:

Contain 300 to 500 words.

Use correct AP style.

Be indented and double-spaced according to the instructions you have been given.

Include at least one hyperlink. For example, you could provide a link to the website of the leader’s organization or a link to a website that the leader has found helpful in achieving his or her goals.

Put your name at the beginning of the file name, and identify the story as “Story 2.”

Criteria for grading will include research, writing, lede, organization, mechanics (such as grammar and AP style), and whether you follow directions.

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