Senior writer Matt Labash reveals tricks of the trade in a recent interview with Fishbowl D.C.:
4. What to do When an Interview is Tanking Order drinks. And plenty of them. This isn’t to condone drinking, though I do. But drinking isn’t just for quieting the voices and making the hurt stop. If properly employed, it can be a useful tool in the journalism toolkit. When people drink, they relax. When they relax, they talk freely. When they talk freely, you get better material, write better stories, get promoted, and win prestigious awards. Bourbon is your friend. So is the tape recorder, in case you have too much of it.
5. Approaching Lawmakers and other “Important People” Be interested and ever curious, but don’t suck up to them. They’re used to being sucked up to. Most people in their world are sycophants. If they come to view you as a peer, or at least not as a sycophant, you’ll get better stuff. At the same time, don’t come off like Truth’s Avenger. If you want to be Robert Redford as Bob Woodward in the movie in your head, that’s up to you. But don’t punish your subjects with your delusions. No matter the shell you’re trying to crack, at heart, these are just flesh-and-blood human beings. So even though you’re a journalist, pretend to be one, too.
Whole thing here.