May 26, 2021

The foundation of an interview

Siera Jones

New York Times White House correspondent and CNN analyst Zolan Kanno-Youngs discussed approaching and making the most out of interviews. His advice is to stay away from the herd. 

“It’s not natural for an athlete to be happy to speak to a crowd of journalists,” he said. 

His advice is to put in work to find sources outside of the crowded locker room setting. He uses social media as a tool to find out where his source’s favorite cafe, bar, or bookstore is and meets them there. It’s a method he uses frequently, and even if he doesn’t ask his source a specific question or schedule an interview in the public place he finds them, he still reaps some rewards. 

Mr. Kanno-Youngs’s tip for seeking athletes outside the locker room is to go and be present simply. He explained that athletes respect him when they see him putting in work. Building connections with sources is crucial, and when they see that his goal isn't to pump them for information simply, they’re more likely to make time for him and give more extensive information when he does ask for an interview. 

He also discussed how he maximizes opportunities once he finally schedules the awaited interview. His strategy is to ask concise questions and simply let his source talk. Even if he only uses 10% of the information he is given, he remains open to any storyline that may present itself.

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