interview skillsIn session 9 of the Sinelizwi citizen journalism programme host and games master Duncan Masiwa interviewed South African actor Theodore Jantjies. Jantjies is best known for his starring role as Xander Meintjies in the SABC soap opera 7de Laan.

Following their interview, aspiring citizen journos had to do a write-up based on the interview for their second assignment.

This assignment helps to develop the interview and writing skills of the citizen journalists, so that they can accurately summarise the main points of an interview for an article. Journalists often have to run interviews for breaking stories, and to get on-the-ground opinions from people who’s voices can be amplified to provide a more nuanced perspective on an event or issue.

Jantjies talked about his youth growing up in the rural Western Cape Town of Heidelberg, as well as how he got to star in his first major acting gig on 7de Laan. He also took the journalists through his story of success.

The assignment brief was to listen to the interview and write it into an article of no more than 500 words.

The assignments were marked on the following:

  • Headline/Title
  • Organisation & Structure
  • Quotations
  • Grammar

These are important aspects of an interview and an article to grab the attention of a reader and to inform them of the important parts of an interview without misleading the reader or misquoting the interviewee.

Games master Duncan left the following note for the journos:

“The instructions for this assignment is simple, choose an angle of your choice and blow me away. Just a word of advice, when you do watch tonight’s session, record the conversation on your phone or another device if possible. This way you can have easy access to the conversation at a later stage when you need it.

“P.S you will definitely need it.”

Writing tip for the week:

Note-taking during an interview is important, so you need to create a note taking system that works for you.