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random_soldier1337

Any scientists here done interviews on shows? What's it like?

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Interviews on a show vs a standard interview vs just talking to laypersons is hugely different. So I am not sure what you are really asking? Scientists talk to non-scientists all the time in formal as well as informal settings. And of course talking to students would be the equivalent to talking to interested non-scientists (until they grow up to become one, of course).

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What do you mean “on shows”?

I was interviewed for a Sunday morning news program many years ago but they came to my lab. It wasn’t in a studio.

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I just used a general catch all for any and all media of interviewing whether that be radio, TV, newspaper, show, documentary, etc. I'm not counting classes, since classes, I often feel,  seem to have less back and forth and interviews feel more like an open discussion or exchange.

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In my case, and in similar ones I’ve observed, it was ten minutes of questions for ten seconds of air time. Plus camera and lighting setup.

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On 9/28/2019 at 11:08 AM, random_soldier1337 said:

I'm not counting classes, since classes, I often feel,  seem to have less back and forth and interviews feel more like an open discussion or exchange.

I find the opposite to be true. There are documentary style interviews which may be longer, but most quotes for news (print or TV) tend to be focused, condensed . For filming, most time is used to get the perfect shot as swansont mentioned. More prominent colleagues (essentially world famous folks in their respective field) have had interviews that took way longer, resulting in a  minute or so of footage. Much of it was clarifying things so that neither the reporter nor they themselves looked like idiots and to get a clear sound bite of a given topic (the rest was taking up by setting the lighting, sweep across the lab to show students pretending to work).

Newspaper interviews can be longer, but unless it is a researcher profile (which rarely makes it the "regular" news) it is also a few sentences that they need.  I think a print interview I had lasted an hour and resulted in two quotes. 

In class it depends, seminars and special topic classes are more discussion-like,  whereas in basic courses you'll have to get through materials. We do also have pub seminars for the public, though. I.e. we get invited to bars and present stuff and have discussion with folks afterward. That is usually very well received.

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16 hours ago, CharonY said:

I find the opposite to be true. There are documentary style interviews which may be longer, but most quotes for news (print or TV) tend to be focused, condensed . For filming, most time is used to get the perfect shot as swansont mentioned. More prominent colleagues (essentially world famous folks in their respective field) have had interviews that took way longer, resulting in a  minute or so of footage. Much of it was clarifying things so that neither the reporter nor they themselves looked like idiots and to get a clear sound bite of a given topic (the rest was taking up by setting the lighting, sweep across the lab to show students pretending to work).

Perfect sound bite(s), I would say. I don't think the journalists have a the narrative fully in place when they are interviewing. Then they have to decide between what they explain and what the interviewee explains in order to tell their story. Since they don't know what they need, they have to get lots of discussion. It's not like you are working from a script.

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

Perfect sound bite(s), I would say.

Yes, that is closer to what I actually meant. I guess it also depends a bit on the purpose of the interview. E.g. local news coming in for the opening of a shiny new institute often work off the press release and try to fill it with positive comments (Collaboration! Interdisciplinary! Tackling the BIG(tm) questions!). In such situations there are less discussions. However, if e.g. there is an actually topic which is supposed to be informative then there is much more back and forth (have experienced the latter only for print medium, though, just not famous enough).

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I did an interview for a newspaper article a couple of years ago. Me and a PR colleague talked with a journalist for about an hour in the morning. The journalist already had a vague idea about the topic and we essentially had a chat about it. The journalist then sent me the draft article in the evening. I sent him correction proposals that were all accepted. Nothing spectacular on this level. Still, there were a few takeaways from this experience:

1) It is the journalist's story. When you get the interview request you feel very important and in the center of things. But in reality you are just helping the journalist to write the article. This also why I said that I sent "correction proposals". The journalist is not required to send you the story beforehand or get your permission for publication.

2) I originally sent elaborated explanations to my corrections, explaining in which context the statement would be correct and when it would me misleading. I ran my corrections through our head of PR. He said a memorable sentence in the sense of: "that guy is a poor devil, a freelancer being paid per article written. Just send him corrections that he can accept or decline and don't cause him extra work". Point is: As a scientist you may be excited about the topic, and of course you expect the journalist to be exited, too. In reality, to the journalist  your topic could as well be an orphan kitten that has been adopted by a  dog: It is a story that gets the next article.

3) We had prepared lots of great diagrams but the journalist insisted on a photo of me, instead. My face is completely irrelevant for the science and even inappropriate for the fact that our results were achieved by a team. It is a manifestation of the journalist rule "no news without a face". Since I experienced this from the producing side, I often find myself re-discovering this: When a minister proposes something (that his employees worked out), when the director of a research institute is asked an expert opinion about a topic (which he bases on the work of the people actually doing the science - his employees) or -a current example of discussion in my family an hour ago- when the main discussion of the climate conference is how Greta Thunberg looked at Donald Trump.

 

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Although you scientists might recollect interactions with journalists, I think this is the wrong framing.  Journalists who expose corruption have a documented tendency to turn up dead, recently: Jamal Kashoggi (US/Turkey), Daphne Galizia (Malta), Viktoria Marinova (Bulgaria).  Or imprisoned in Asia and the Middle East (Wa Lone).

However, editors and other higher-ups do censor certain kinds of discussions.  One example was Nick Hanauer's Banned TED Talk (TYT) on income inequality, which seems to be back nowCoverage Discussion of climate change is abysmal.  War coverage -mongering gets ratings (William Arkin, Phil Donahue), but the journalists in those places are heroes.  The problem appears to be an after-the-fact censorship or omission of certain framings, and this probably has a top-down effect on the journalist's paycheck if he doesn't shift his coverage as well.

However, I would be interested to investigate other differences in the framing.  Maybe scientists tend to want to include practical tips for bettering society, while perhaps the reporters have to entice people by activating them emotionally, emotions that will go to waste.

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1 hour ago, MonDie said:

Although you scientists might recollect interactions with journalists, I think this is the wrong framing.  Journalists who expose corruption have a documented tendency to turn up dead, recently: Jamal Kashoggi (US/Turkey), Daphne Galizia (Malta), Viktoria Marinova (Bulgaria).  Or imprisoned in Asia and the Middle East (Wa Lone).

However, editors and other higher-ups do censor certain kinds of discussions.  One example was Nick Hanauer's Banned TED Talk (TYT) on income inequality, which seems to be back nowCoverage Discussion of climate change is abysmal.  War coverage -mongering gets ratings (William Arkin, Phil Donahue), but the journalists in those places are heroes.  The problem appears to be an after-the-fact censorship or omission of certain framings, and this probably has a top-down effect on the journalist's paycheck if he doesn't shift his coverage as well.

However, I would be interested to investigate other differences in the framing.  Maybe scientists tend to want to include practical tips for bettering society, while perhaps the reporters have to entice people by activating them emotionally, emotions that will go to waste.

I think about that sometimes. Even among my peers, its the things that bring you some sort of high that are valued a lot. 

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