A journalists advice on press conferences

Published: September 20, 2012
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It all begins with a gesture of friendship and idle chatter about the growing need for young people in the field. PHOTO: FILE

When attending a press conference, be wary of casting a friendly smile or fiercely penning down notes in your notebook … refrain yourself from lifting your head to track the chain of growing whispers and strictly contain the urge of investigating it for these are all the signs of a tragic narrative in the making.

It all begins with a gesture of friendship and idle chatter about the growing need for young people in the field. And, just as you decide to let down your guard and let slip the word that you, too, are one of the fresh inductees, they close in for the kill.

The conversation meanders from the new and fresh perspectives of the young journalist to his or her less-informed and amateurish opinion on topics — and that is just the intermission as more characters are about to make their entry to drown your voice in a clamour of professionalism. That is when you know that you have played your part and a grudging bow to exit the stage would be highly recommended, if not appropriate.

As a fledgling journalist, one must always mask their enthusiasm in a cloak of smugness when seated in close proximity to professionals and it’s a bonus if you can pull off an uninterested, complacent look which will instantaneously qualify you as a veteran.

To compensate for your need to catch every detail, simply carry a handy voice recorder and occasionally scratch down a line or two on paper in order to give your character the finishing touches.

Most importantly, never get distracted by the grey-haired person giving you warm smiles and take the cue to start a conversation as it is just bait to lure in an unsuspecting victim. Lastly, when you feel you are approaching that vulnerable moment, take out your beginner’s handbook and revisit the three Fs: Focus, Focus and Focus!

Remember never to give your opponent the slightest opportunity to sink his journalistic teeth into your tender skin, as the marks often run very deep and the process of eliminating that blemish is often very long and testing.

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Dilaira Dubash

Dilaira Dubash

The author is the Commissioning Editor at the Express Tribune with a penchant for food writing. She tweets @DilairaM twitter.com/dilairam

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.