When initially receiving this assignment I sat in my seat wondering what I am an actual expert in. At 21 years old there aren’t many things that come to mind; maybe getting into bars legally (or illegally for that matter) or being an identical twin, but nothing that is particularly newsworthy or life altering. However as the assignment progressed and I watched more and more news segments I came to a vastly different understanding of what makes a strong expert interview versus what I had initially perceived. While acknowledging that the interviewer must be an expert in the subject matter at hand that does not necessarily mean that they must have experience with the subject matter. Much rather, they must GET SMART and conduct a considerable amount of research so they may successfully participate in the conversation taking place. While the Boston Bombings were unfortunate, the news coverage surrounding the event portrayed the importance of expert interviews in the broadcast news industry. One particular interview that comes to mind is the conversation that took place between CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and Domestic Security expert John Miller. As the interview transpired Scott asked John short directive questions, trying to bring some clarity and explanation to the most inexplicable situation. Answering a lot of questions in details alluding to how the US federal agencies were going to solve this heinous crime, how there was going to be justice served, how the investigation should transpire. All of these questions and answers were said with a great deal of confidence and as a result brought a significant amount of serenity during a time of great chaos to the American public. What made the interview such a strong interview in particular was John’s ability to make some of the most complicated issues into a simple, understandable sound byte. With this, the intended audience gains a source of informed knowledge that aids their ability to come to terms with the events transpiring. Taking this same approach, I would treat my expert interview as a live conversation with an expert on a given evening news show. I came across Dr. Nabil Makil, an international Security, Middle East Foreign policy expert. Calling him in to comment on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s trip to the Middle East. With this frame employed I would bring a strong, newsworthy focus to the interview, force myself to keep my questions succinct and clear as well as ask multiple follow ups on anything that could possibly be misunderstood. Overall, I was very happy with my performance, while struggling with the language barrier at times, Dr. Makil would prove to be very well informed and would be a great source of knowledge that would provide an inside perspective on the first international trip of the New Secretary of Chuck Hagel.
The Power of an Expert