Election Home
What's a Primary?
The Fight for Iowa
New Hampshire's Power
South Carolina Newcomer
Around the Nation
Right to Vote
Meet the Candidates
Candidate's Kids

Teachers: Bring the world into your classroom with Scholastic Magazines

Tips From Chris Jansing
Interview by Ellie Bosies, Alexandra Conway, and Molly Wienberg
Scholastic Student Reporters

Alexandra Conway, Molly Wienberg, and Ellie Bosies interview Chris Jansing. (Photo by Suzanne Freeman)
No matter where the Scholastic Student Reporters were, there, too, was Chris Jansing, covering campaign events for NBC News and MSNBC. She covered pancake breakfasts, chili suppers, volunteer rallies, town hall meetings, and restaurant meet and greets. She has been the face of the campaign on MSNBC in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and any other state about to have a primary election. So she certainly knew what she was talking about when she stopped to talk to Scholastic Student Reporters in New Hampshire recently.

Jansing is a daytime anchor on MSNBC as well as a correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News. She joined NBC News in June 1998. She covered the terrorist attacks on September 11 as the events unfolded. She also reported live from Jerusalem for MSNBC on the Pope's March 2000 pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and she extensively covered the 2000 Presidential Election from Tallahassee, Florida, also for MSNBC.

SN: What's the best way to conduct an interview?
Jansing: The best thing—always—is to be prepared, which means you do your homework. You do your research. So if you come to talk to Wesley Clark, you read everything there is to read about Wesley Clark. You think about the kinds of questions you want to ask for the people who will either be reading your stories or reading you online. What would they want to know about Wesley Clark?

What you want to do is what we call "serve your audience." Give them the information that they want. To do the best possible interview, you want know what's going on. When you're going out to do the candidates, you should read as much as you can about them.

The other thing, I think, is to just take a deep breath. Try not to be too nervous. Realize that everybody is a person, whether it's an important person or somebody who wants to be President. Treat them like you would want to be treated. Try not to get too nervous. Sometimes I still get nervous and I've been doing this a really long time, but I try not to get nervous.

Alexandra Conway, Molly Wienberg, and Ellie Bosies talk to Chris Jansing. (Photo by Suzanne Freeman)
The only other thing I would say to you is just to be really aware of everything that's going on around you. You should not only know necessarily about Wesley Clark, but there are always other things. Like in this case, it would be "What are the issues in this campaign?"

Also, know your audience—your audience is fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-graders—you have to look at what is specific to that audience. What they would be interested in hearing about would be different maybe than what I would be interested in hearing about or a senior citizen might be interested in hearing about. Always know your audience and who's going to be reading what you're writing.