At the 2015 IRE Conference in Philadelphia, Scott Friedman, Keli Rabon, and Scott Zamost gave their best tips for convincing unsure or powerful sources to sit down for television interviews. Here are excerpts from the panel that outline their best pieces of advice.
Scott Friedman, a Senior Investigative Reporter at NBC5/Dallas-Fort Worth, spells out his three essential tips for pre-interview meetings. Mentioned in this clip are two stories that his team has produced: an investigation into the cause of a house fire in north Texas, and a former soldier suffering from PTSD interviewed for a story about mistreatment at Army Warrior Transition Units.
Appealing to a source’s sense of right and wrong can help tremendously when dealing with nervous sources, explains Friedman.
“You have to be a human first and a reporter second,” explains Keli Rabon, an investigative reporter at KTRK in Houston, Texas. Engage with sources on a personal level.
Scott Zamost, a senior investigative producer at CNN, emphasizes that reporters should always stay transparent when convincing unsure sources to talk.