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Jul 25 / King Kaufman

Megan McArdle’s advice on interviewing, writing, editing

Megan McArdleMediaBistro’s FishbowlDC has a terrific interview with Megan McArdle of the Atlantic about reporting and writing.

It’s part of FishbowlDC’s great “Tricks of the Trade” series, in which Fishbowl talks to Beltway journalists about how they go about their jobs. I can’t find a “Tricks of the Trade” tag, but you can scroll through the Reporting and Writing category to find the pieces.

Other recent Tricks of the Trade guests have included Metro Weekly’s White House correspondent Chris Geidner, radio host Bill Press and the Daily Caller blogger Mary Katharine Ham.

Don’t think you can’t learn things from these folks just because they’re not writing about sports. McArdle starts by talking about her favorite interview technique:

“Silence. Long silences are really uncomfortable, so most reporters are tempted to break them.  But interview subjects also find them uncomfortable, and eventually they’ll say almost anything to end the discomfort.  If you keep quiet for long enough, they will almost always start talking.  And by then they’re a little nervous, so they often say something interesting.”

McArdle also discusses self-editing techniques and relays advice from an editor she’s never forgotten and her own advice for budding journalists.