Moore tells JEA/NSPA audience to interview like a psychiatrist

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Improve your stories by getting great quotes with a technique used by psychiatrists.

That was just one of the great interviewing tips from the session, “Improving your copy: writing articles, not essays,” given at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle on Saturday, April 14.

The presenter, Whitney Moore, a Walsworth yearbook sales representative in Maryland, told the students and advisers in her session to say this statement and question: Tell me more about that, and, how did that make you feel? Saying them in a low, even tone like the clichéd psychiatrist brought a laugh from the crowd.

The tip was in response to a question about getting information out of sources who give short answers. Great quotes are an essential part of a story, which Moore defined as a moment in time or a snapshot, versus an essay, which is usually a group of facts that prove a point.

Moore also said students who want to become good writers need to read. She said she reads the blog by writer Jeff Goins, which can be found at goinswriter.com.

Elizabeth Braden, CJE
Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the editor of Idea File magazine. She has been a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 10 years, writing articles for walsworthyearbooks.com and marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. She has taught at Adviser Academy. Her career has included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.