(Note: Rebecca wrote this section for SNN while
she was a host/videographer for "RapidFAX" at MuchMusic.
In August 1999, she made the move to VH-1 , the American music
channel, where she's a journalist on the show The Daily One.)
on the show The Daily One., VH-1
you just love to report on the latest CD by a top recording artist!
Check out Rebecca's notes on being a reporter in the music industry.
MuchMusic has a pretty relaxed approach to the traditional
rules of 'journalism' but that is not to say that we take our
interviews any less seriously. In fact, the conversational style
that we use to conduct interviews means that we actually have
to know the subject matter -- and the subject --all that more
thoroughly. That means that the who,what, when, where and how
questions are often not enough. If an artist has a passion or
outside interest, or even an adamant dislike for something, music
reporters have to know about it because THAT is the information
that makes for great interviews.
All that said, it can be difficult to read into an artist
or a group if your students only have CD and biography in front
of them. Other press interviews are good to read but never fall
into the trap of stealing other people's questions.
Instead, your students research should be based around trying
to think about what the audience would really be interested in
and that means staying away from the obvious.
a short list of how I would prepare for an interview:
Teachers can use this
list to help their students report on music.
1. Students should listen to the
cd and read the lyrics in the liner notes if they are available.
Liner notes offer amazing insight into
artists: Who do they thank? Do the lyrics make sense or do they
just use words that happen to rhyme? What art work or pictures
do they use? Who produced the album? And who actually wrote the
songs? They should pay particular attention to guest appearances.
For example, if Oasis lists another artist on one of the songs,
students can bet they have a bit of a relationship and that is
2.Take a look at other press that
they've done and tv interviews.
shouldn't take this too seriously because people act differently
with every interviewer and every day is different.
3.Write down some stock questions
-- basic obvious ones.
can then come up with two or three things that are a little different.
Stock questions are ones that they could ask basically anyone
and ones that are out of the ordinary are ones that students
want to know after doing their research.
4.Always look at the videos (past
Your students should
check past and present videos of the artists you're interested
in and who directed them. Perhaps the artist directed the videos
themselves and that opens up a whole other can of worms.
interviewing a performer (local or national) students should
be prepared to let the artist go off on a tangent and even encourage
it if they get on to an interesting topic. This is becomes a
little tricky because the audience wants to know what they think
not the reporter. So student reporters can do lots of nodding
but try not to talk over them.
Student should remember to just have a conversation
with the artist. They don't need to kiss up to the artist but
try not to offend them either. If they like the student, great.
If they don't, it always makes for good tv, so a reporter really
can't go wrong.
I can testify that journalism is a really rewarding career
if a student is a curious person. I've always been very interested
in others people especially if they have a reputation for being
difficult -what made them this way anyway?!