There is a clip that makes the rounds showing part of Deschown Watson's press conference after the loss of Texans. to the Panthers on Sunday, and that's fantastic:
Watson didn't try to own Aaron Reiss on The Athletic to ask him about "the coverage they were playing" since at least one corner of The Twitterverse has suggested. Such a reaction suggests that the question was blunt and that the Texas attorney needed a corrective response. That didn't happen here. The reporter asked a thoughtful question and Watson obliged him by offering a thoughtful answer.
Press conferences are a necessary evil for access reporters. They are performative, which means they tend to be questioned, not what they are: opportunities for reporters to try to retrieve information from their subjects – experience is the operative word here. More often than not, clampers are an opportunity for these entities to fulfill their obligations of access without actually providing any information, whether through hatred or outright lying. (It's also true that reporters can get carried away with being performative during presses. But that also doesn't happen here.)
A reporter will get the most out of his topic by reading this topic – a way of formulating to the question, a particular tone to use when asking this question, to know when to follow it, to know when to quit, etc. When Rex Ryan trained the Jets and refused to give the right answer, reporters knew I would keep asking him, because eventually he could. However, this is not a strategy that will work on Bill Belikik.
In some cases, just smoothing the mute can really make someone open up. A smart editor once advised me to approach certain interview settings, thinking, Talk to me like I'm two years old – an approach that absolutely works more often than not. Yes, there are dumb questions, but most of the time, questions are asked in a specific way to meet the specific purpose of getting an answer. This is exactly what Reis hoped to deal with:
Watson could easily attach some kind of canned answer to who has to play next time or who should watch the movie later and no one would ever think about this exchange again. Instead, he eagerly provided the world with a detailed breakdown of what he saw and how he reacted to what he saw and why things didn't work out. He was able to completely cover this land in 66 seconds and the reporter who asked her received both an informative response and an exceptional sound bite for the rest of us to chew. It was perfect.