Anne Hull offers tips on interviewing and writing during visit to UF

Washington Post reporter Anne Hull offered advice on reporting and writing to students in Writing for Mass Communication at the University of Florida. Photo by Chas Bronson

Washington Post reporter Anne Hull offered advice on reporting and writing to students in Writing for Mass Communication at the University of Florida. Photo by Chas Bronson

Anne Hull, whose stories have four times been nominated for a Pulitzer, was the Hearst Visiting Professional for UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. (Photo by Chass Bronson)

Q&A: The students asked questions. I asked questions. Washington Post reporter Anne Hull answered them — with candor, insightful stories, humor and enthusiasm for her work as a journalist. (Answers paraphrased.)

Q: What advice do you have about interviewing?
A: Be prepared. Conduct the interview in person or on the phone — not by e-mail. Take notes and transcribe them immediately.

Q: Do you get emotionally involved with your stories?
A: Yes, but you must remain professional.

Q: How do you are you able to get conversations, such as Michael Shakelford and his mother in “Young and Gay in the Real America”?
A: Listen. Don’t interrupt with your own questions. Let the conversation happen and then talk with them (individually) later about the conversation. A lot of good reporting is listening and observing.

Q: Do you let the people involved in your story read it before the story is published?
A: No. But check all the facts — right down to eye color, if you are going to mention that in the story.

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