When he was 13, Kevin Pang loved two things: Mortal Kombat and bacon. The video game inspired him to begin writing as he strove to write about video games for a living. Pang eventually accepted a job for the Chicago Tribune, where he began eating and writing about food; but interviewing is how Pang got his job today.
Offering to share his knowledge of interviewing techniques, which contributed to his success, Pang gave a speech in a news writing class at the University of Utah last Tuesday.
Being prepared and knowing the topic is the number one rule of interviewing, according to Pang. It is important to ask follow-up questions and to clarify each question. While interviewing, it is important to listen and absorb. While taking notes, write simple prompts.
Pang believes the three best questions to ask in an interview are why, what do you mean, and how can you be sure? Each of these explains motives and character, clarifies, and begs for complex explanations.
The final interviewing technique Pang offered to students is when an interviewee offers no comment. Reply with, “I feel bad putting a no comment in the story because I feel the readers will think your trying to hide something; so let’s talk about it.” Interviewing requires journalists and public relations professionals alike to be tough, yet compassionate and friendly.
Although Pang never achieved his teenage dream of reviewing video games for a living, his interviewing techniques led him to become a credible food critic who loves his job.
“I write about things that I like,” like cheap foods and restaurants, “that’s what interests me, so that’s what I want to write about,” said Pang. He also suggests all writers find something they are passionate about – then write about it. Oh, and always add bacon.