A demonstration of the “National Press Club approach” to a classroom interview.


The goal of this lesson is teach students to formulate good questions, rank their questions in terms of importance, conduct an interview, listen to answers and understand the value of follow-up queries.  An added goal is to model how to ask questions of professionals.


The model interview with University of Missouri-St. Louis psychology professor Dr. Robert Paul took place on July 23, 2010. The interviewer is Dr. Alan Newman, a co-PI on the SciJourn project.

The questions asked were generated by the teachers in the 2010 SciJourn summer professional development program.  The teachers researched Dr. Paul on the web the night before the interview. The day of the interview, they formed 3- or 4-person teams to formulate questions based on the research and then rank order the questions in terms of importance. The resultant questions were written done by a designated scribe and then given to Newman, who either asked the question as written or in some cases combined the question from two groups into one.

national press club interview lesson


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Conducted by Dr. Alan Newman, and done in the style of a “National Press Club” interview, with questions generated by SciJourn teachers and given to Dr. Newman.

Interview of Biological Psychologist Dr. Robert Paul from SciJourn Video on Vimeo.

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A Student Guide to . . .

Your science journalism article will be more lively and interesting (and more likely to be published) when original quotes are included. Talking to one or more experts provides additional perspectives on your topic. By following some basic interviewing techniques, journalists (you) can plan and conduct an effective interview. Interviews are best in person, but phone interviews (and even e-mail messages) can provide useful information.

Student Guide – Interviewing

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This lesson will help students consider the expertise of others and how the views of experts might be included in science articles.

Objective: Students will recognize the importance of experts as sources of
relevant, factually accurate information.

Materials: Name the Experts

Time: approximately 45 minutes

lesson – Who’s the Expert

lesson – Who’s the Expert (Editable Version)

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