Asking to interview a person who has just lost someone close to them takes some getting used to and the dreaded 'death-knock' is the sign of a skilled journalist when handled well.

Far from being something to avoid, families are usually glad to have the opportunity to give a public tribute, notes freelance journalist Joshua King on JournoResources.

He offers some advice on handling the task, including accepting their response at face value.

“One of three things will happen next – they will say yes, no, or not now. In my experience, nothing you say will change their mind and nor should it. If they decline and you know you will definitely be running a story say so. It is important they are not surprised when they open their paper or turn on the TV,” he wrote.

“If they say ‘not now’ leave your contact details. A business card is more appropriate than a scrap of paper with a scrawled phone number. The ‘not now’ response is often best – the opportunity to consider what they want to say will give a more rounded story.”

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