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Doing Cable News Interviews Well

tv iconThese aren’t “how to’s” per se but they are each an example of effective interview skills on the part of the television expert: Sen. Elizabeth Warren on CNBC and author Dr. Reza Aslan on FOX.

Why do I think they merit watching?

1. Both subjects are incredibly well-prepared.

By this I mean that they know their topics upside-down and inside-out. They are intimately familiar with facts and nuances. They are, in a phrase, subject matter experts, but SMEs who can speak in lay terms.

2. Both seem unflappable and yet passionate.

I don’t know how you do this. Seriously. I can’t do it. I get ruffled, annoyed, angry. The FOX anchor in particular would have had me spitting nails.

The passionate part is important for connecting with your audience. The unflappable part is important for not turning people off or giving points to the anchor.

“Points to the anchor.” I just typed that.

It’s a bloody game?

3. Both understand the camera is always on.

There’s no grimacing or eye rolls. No bouncing. The closest thing to a distraction is Aslan playing with his hands just below camera.

Here you go:

 

Note that Aslan holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, a doctorate in the sociology of religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa.

FOX’s Lauren Green compared his credentials to those of John Dickerson, a journalist and senior pastor at the Cornerstone Evangelical Free Press Church in Prescott, AZ, who wrote a scathing critique for FOX.com that has been used to bludgeon the book on Amazon.com. Scholarly credentials? None on his author bio.

Twitter envy? @johnsdickerson versus @RezaAslan.

Yes, I just stooped to snark.

2 thoughts on “Doing Cable News Interviews Well

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Kathy E. Gill

    July 28, 2013 at 8:30pm

    Thanks, Andrew! I don’t watch a lot of TV in general and even less cable TV. These are certainly longer interviews than you would see on a traditional network news show. When you find other examples, good or less good, please share!

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Andrew Hart (@hartpandrew)

    July 28, 2013 at 8:27pm

    Fascinating conclusion. Thanks for laying out the parallels here. I will be looking for it in other such interview exchanges.

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