18. News reporting

Without reports, there is no journalism. News reporting is the basic professional gesture: going and looking for the news right where it's happening. The reporter is a journalist covering news events to inform the listeners. With this goal in mind, he must prepare his outing, choose his interlocutors wisely, decide on his angles.

The right attitude

On the field, a reporter must take initiatives, look for the right interlocutors, ask the right questions. He observes and takes notes. His tool is sound. He knows how to record an interview, ambient sound (nat), wild tracks, and properly modulate the sound (see 19).

Before you leave : know your story

Read the wire stories, the press releases, the press junkets, the articles that have been written on the story. Make sure that you understand properly. Check the names, the facts, the dates, the figures so as to be taken seriously by the people you’ll be talking to.

Pick your angle

What aspects of the story do you want to highlight? How to put the spotlight on a story so as to make it understandable? What are your listeners interested in? You MUST ask yourself those questions before you leave. Your colleagues will help you find the right angles during the morning conference.

Get a list of questions ready

Don’t write your interview word for word. Get a canvas ready, a few notes that sum up the angles you want to use, the info you want to get.

Check your equipment

Not to be forgotten : battery, mic (don’t forget to test it), protective sleeve, emptying the SD card, headphones, sound boom (if needed)…

On the field : speak to the right people

Who are you going to want to talk to ? For every story there are two type of interlocutors :

The protagonists : the people directly involved in the event. They will tell you about it, describe it, testify…

The experts : their knowledge of the story gives them credibility. They are habilitated to analyze, explain, comment…

On the field : get your interviewees ready

Make sure that you are going to find the people you wank to talk to. Unless circumstances prevent you from doing so, always schedule a meeting. Tell people that you’re a journalist working for radio station XYZ… Do specify that you want an interview, and explain how it will be used.

While working on the report

After each interview, check the quality of your recordings. Listen to the last few sentences.If it’s no good (if you can hear the wind or overly loud background noise), do it again. The interviewee is standing right next to you. He will understand if you explain.

Don’t let the interviewee handle the mic

You are the one conducting the interview. You need to check the sound quality.