Jessie Martens

Noah Robischon Knows His Stuff

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In fast company’s article, “What BuzzFeed’s Dao Nguyen Knows About Date, Intuition, And The Future Of Media” Noah Robischon checked off every item.

Don’t get me wrong, Nguyen is a very interesting woman. I’ve learned a lot about her and the rest of Buzzfeed through the different research I’ve been doing, but what kept this story moving in the right direction were the questions Robischon asked.

The backwards way the story stared out really intrigued me.

Robischon continuously went back and asked more questions based on the answers that Nguyen responded. Questions that I wouldn’t really think to ask, but wish I did.

Personally, one of the hardest parts about being a journalist is finding those questions to ask. I absolutely love talking to people and having this kind of conversation, but being able to dig as deep as Robischon is what I believe all journalists aim to do. He asks these insightful questions and makes each one more intricate than the next. Robischon finds out the interesting detail people wouldn’t normally find out, which provides this article with such an amazing impact.

I looked deeper into these interview tactics and found a list by Forbes and wanted to compare it to what Robischon did.

Number one on that list is start slow, safe, and personal. Check!

Now in the Fast Company article, we aren’t really sure what the first question is, but the first question we see written out that Robischon asked was, “Have you ever thought you would want to be a publisher?” Could it get any more personal than this?

This question helped move the whole interview along. It led to questions about the first things she programmed (when she started at age 7, wow!) to what her ambitions are currently.

The next item on the Forbes list is, “Coax, don’t hammer.”

Check! Robischon continuously did this through the interview by having a conversation with Nguyen.

Example:

Nguyen-But I’ve never been super ambitious, actually.

Robischon-In what sense?

Professionally.

When you say ambition, what do you consider ambition?

Forbes number three on their list is “Make some questions open ended.”

Check!

This one I know and looked for myself before I read this in Forbes and found that almost all of Robischon’s questions were open ended.

Other items on Forbes list include, “Ask what you don’t know,” “Let the interviewees wander a bit – but be careful,” and to “Be prepared.”Check, check, check!

This article was so impressive to me because of the unusual questions asked. The article could have went a different way, maybe worse, than it did with a different set of questions. Which gives me inspiration and ideas to become a better writer.

As a journalist not only is it important to read a story for content and information.  As a journalist venturing out in the professional world for the first time, I believe being able to see how a certain writer phrases something, begins a story, or uses a lead, is so important, and I think Robischon is a perfect example of a writer to watch.

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