Broadcast journalism veteran Jen Maxfield on perfecting the interview

An American presenter, journalist and author shares all the lessons (and rookie mistakes) of 20 years in local TV news


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Without a doubt, a basic skill of any budding journalist is to interview, but knowing what questions to ask is only a fraction of the skill involved.

In fact, it’ll only get you so far without the other crucial, and often underestimated, part of maintenance: listen. That’s why so many journalists will insist that the best soundbites that end up in the final cut are the result of follow-up questions or unexpected additional remarks.

Arguably, nowhere is this more important than in the broadcast interview, where you are often confronted with an ongoing situation or a sensitive story.

In this week’s podcast, we talk to Jen Maxfield, an Emmy-winning journalist and presenter with over 20 years of experience, working for various US stations, including NBC New York, Eyewitness News and WIXT.

She made a name for herself by specializing in field journalism and local television. During the podcast, she shares expert advice on the many types of interview situations journalists can encounter, including how to learn from your rookie mistakes — what makes seasoned pros so good at their craft.

Maxfield teaches broadcast journalism as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is the author of ‘More after the break in which she looks back on ten of her most significant news stories.

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