I believe as a reporter it was my responsibility to ask tough questions or at least ones that viewers at home were mumbling to themselves while watching the news. Some people thought these questions reflected my personal views. The fact that my last reporting job was at a Fox station compounded some people’s perceptions.
In today’s environment of partisan journalism, some questions actually reflect the journalist’s personal views. (I hesitate to use the word journalist in the previous sentence because a journalist in reality should be objective.) However I want to believe most partisan journalism is confined to the cable news networks with some exceptions outside that arena. I want to believe most journalists are just asking tough questions because that is their legitimate job.
Don’t take it personally when reporters ask tough questions. Few reporters want anyone to mistake them as a member of a public relations team. Some reporters go overboard and feel obligated to ask tough questions, to dig deeper into a story, even if they’re covering a bake sale.
First, try to learn what reporter will be interviewing you, limiting the chances someone will catch you off guard. Second, understand most journalists are covering news, not conducting an interview for the yearbook. Expect tough questioning and practice for it. Don’t let them see you sweat. Don’t say something sarcastic about the questions. Some journalists are looking for such a reaction. Don’t give it to them. It’s not personal. It’s business, the business of journalism.