Why journalists make great dates

Livi Burdette interviewing Sam Zukin for a profile story. Photo by Rachel Barber

While learning interviewing skills, cherubs were simultaneously learning dating skills — though they didn’t always know it at the time. Guest instructors Bret Begun and Cynthia Wang drew this connection for cherubs in the lecture “Advanced Interviewing Techniques” in the fourth week of the program.

“That connection was an ah-ha moment,” said Emma Edmund of Tampa, Florida. “You’re getting to know your source the same way you’d get to know a date.”

Begun and Wang told cherubs not to be intimidated by their subject. If the subject seems afraid of them, it’s their responsibility to comfort them.

Begun also stressed the importance of choosing the right food at dinner.

“You don’t want to get something with a ton of onions and garlic because that’s gross,” said Edmund, recalling the lecture. “You don’t want to get something that’s really messy to eat because that’ll distract from the person you’re trying to get to know.”

Cherub Lauryn Luescher of San Jose, California, agreed with Begun when he told the cherubs to order a simple food that won’t be distracting. A reporter needs to talk, write and eat at the same time, she said.

“On a date, you’re not necessarily taking notes but you’re taking mental notes,” said Luescher.

A journalist should dress slightly nicer than the subject to both show respect and impress them, Wang said, adding that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

One major point that Wang and Begun made in their lecture doesn’t apply to dating.

“Beware of sexy people,” Wang advised.

Luescher agreed, remembering a time she was distracted while interviewing the quarterback of the football team because she found him attractive.

If cherubs could take anything away from the advanced interviewing lecture, it is to be as confident as possible, Begun said.

“Remember that people attract with their personalities and I think that if you make that personal connection with your interviewee you’re really going to bring it home,” Luescher said.