Arts & Entertainment, Business, Writing

Students Dig Into Woodward's Interview With Trump

Bob Woodward

Lesson time 19:05 min

Bob and a group of students from his Yale journalism seminar take a deep dive into his interview with then–presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Analyzing the Story Lede • Figuring Out What’s Driving Trump • Grading Journalism


People taking this class, I would urge you to find something-- a hard target. Nothing's off limits. There are no boundaries. You need to-- as representatives of the media-- to ask the questions of people who have power. And we're going to start with the interview Bob Costa-- a political reporter at The Post-- and I did with Trump last year when Trump was right on the edge of becoming the Republican nominee. It was virtually certain at that point. Bob Costa and I, we spent a lot of time thinking about this. How can we get some answers from Trump? How we can try to find out what's inside? What's driving him? And Chris has some clips from the audio clips of this. [AUDIO PLAYBACK] So when did it go to yes? Because that's-- I mean, having made-- you know, we all make minor decisions in our lives. And this is the boy. Big decision. Yeah, these are big decisions. And I say, and sometimes, I'll say it in the speeches, it takes guts to run for president, especially if you're not a Politician My question is, you sort of hesitate at the start, and Trump is going on about takes guts, and he's sort of getting into that speech he does. But you interrupt him three times, four times. It goes on later in the interview, and you ask, when did it become yes. And you really want to get to this point and Trump is not getting it. When do you decide when to interrupt someone you're interviewing? What's the thought process going to your head? Interrupt if they're not answering the question. And this was one of the first questions. And you're trying to set the terms of engagement. And by persisting with the same question, we're saying to him, we really want answers. And in this case, the question is, how did you make this big decision. And having written books about eight other presidents, how they cross that line, and say, hey, I'm running. And the why. And in pursuing the question with Trump, finally, the fourth time, he said, well, it got to yes. And then we followed up, well, what did your family say. And he literally said, that his wife, Melania, said to him, oh, if you run, you will win. And a lot of people, now that he's president, have theorized, maybe at birth, maybe early in his business career, certainly at various stages in New York, he was always saying he's about to run. Trump doesn't like to be interrupted. You know, he likes to give his spiel. And what was sort of the game you were playing when you're trying to build a relationship with him through the interview, but then you interrupted him when he wanted to launch in? I mean, how do you navigate that? We really want the answer to this. And I think-- he didn't say, I'm not going to give it-- he didn't throw up a wall. You could see-- and there's no video of this-- but he's thinking of that question. On the flip side of that question, how do you kno...

About the Instructor

Bob Woodward was just 29 when he changed a nation. His Watergate reporting with Carl Bernstein helped expose the corruption of the Nixon presidency. Two Pulitzer Prizes and nineteen best-selling books later, the legendary journalist is teaching his first-ever online class for anyone who wants to find the truth. Learn to investigate a story, interview sources, and understand how the news is written. The next history-making story might be yours.

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Bob Woodward

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