“The Art of the Interview, ESPN-Style”

By Brian 

Have you ever heard of John Sawatsky? Every editorial employee at ESPN has. They have all attended a three-day seminar where Sawatsky explains the “seven deadly sins of interviewing” by eviscerating “the nation’s most prominent television journalists.” Check out David Folkenflik‘s NPR piece about “the art of the interview.” Here’s a highlight:

“Sawatsky’s rules are simple, but he says they get broken all the time: Don’t ask yes-or-no questions, keep questions short and avoid charged words, which can distract people. In his seminar, Sawatsky points to Mike Wallace of CBS’ 60 Minutes and CNN’s Larry King as examples to avoid. In Sawatsky’s illustrative clips, King favors leading questions that generate curt answers, while Wallace’s rapid patter fails to get a subject to speak candidly.”

NPR.org includes reactions from Wallace and King…

> Update: 11:32am: “At Cold Pizza, the morning program, we have had two sessions with him,” an ESPN tipster says. “And we have had producers from Good Morning America, Today, and The Early Show, who have worked with the likes of Charlie Gibson, Tom Brokaw and Bryant Gumbel, — some of best interviewers ever — and Sawatsky told this group of fairly experienced and talented producers that they — producers and interviewers — had been doing it the wrong way for years…”