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The skill set required for successfully conducting broadcast public interviews is not a relevant one for most people to have. But for those who are in the business, I wonder if there are any protocols, spoken or unspoken, against giving distracting verbal cues to show that, I guess, as the interviewer, you are indeed listening to the person you’re interviewing.

Rebecca Costa demonstrates what I mean only too well. Scroll down to the interview with John Ross (12/17/10) and listen to the 40 seconds from 40:40-41:20. Notice (which will be an easy thing to do–the challenge would be to not notice) the five “uh huhs” Costa utters. I happened to check the media player during that time period, but it’s something she does with great frequency. Richard Spencer also does it to the point of distraction.

I understand that non-words are a difficult thing for people to cut out of their speech patterns and I don’t mean to be acerbic in drawing attention to it. But in these cases, it simply requires one person to be quiet while the other person is speaking. With minimal effort, it would presumably be an easy and beneficial thing to do.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    My son, age 14, cannot stand to hear speakers say uh, or um. He actually counts how many they say. If they say more than 3 or 4 in the first few minutes, he will lean over and tell me the count and approximate amount of time or sentences. On the other side, he almost never says uh or um. His nitpicking has made me more aware of it.

  2. Heck, controlling one's verbal ticks is easy. One can't, however, hide one's looks (outside of strict Islamic cultures, I suppose).

    FOX News has so many very attractive newsbabes that I wonder how male interviewees — or male FOX anchors and reporters, for that matter — are not driven to distraction when appearing on the network. Other networks have distractingly attractive newsbabes, though not as many (or as fetching, IMHO) as in tabloidy, tacky Murdochland. And that's just in English; the Spanish newscasts in the US are even more blatant with the sex appeal.

  3. This is a crucial skill which used to be taught in journalism school- it's extremely distracting in interviews and you'll never hear the more reputable journos do it

  4. alpha male body language posts, my friend. check em out.

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You're going to have to pardon my ignorance on this one, but I just have a question… are crime statistics collected by the DOJ and FBI based on arrest or conviction rate? And if based on arrest, how do we know that these accurately reflect crime rate? According to one site, victimization surveys corroborate arrest reports in terms of such things as race and gender. Is this true?

  6. Anon,

    The NCVS is based on victims, not convictions, and it aligns pretty closely with actual criminal conviction data.

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