Interviewing is a skill that a good journalist will have learned and good journalists will always seek to hone their interviewing skills, asking the key questions in the best way possible. Likewise, good politicians learn how to be interviewed, how to get their message across during the interview and how to avoid pitfalls.
It's something in which every serious political party takes an interest and none more so than Sinn Fein.
As a party, they place a high value on training their politicians and that includes media training.
I first noticed it back in the 1990s, not long after I was elected to Belfast City Council.
Councillors from all parties, as well as independents, were offered the opportunity to attend a free training package on how to be interviewed.
One thing that surprised me was that so many councillors did not bother to avail of the opportunity; another was the degree of interest that Sinn Fein councillors took in it.
I was particularly struck by one Sinn Fein councillor who recorded the session, possibly for a follow-up session in the Felons Club.
There will be the core questions that keep coming up all the time and for which someone will have standard replies and stock answers.
But there are also the current issues that require some thought, and the curveball questions that take you unawares.
That's why most politicians will arrive for the interview with a number of stock answers, either on a sheet of paper, or in their heads or, today, possibly, on an iPad. They are 'prepped', or prepared, for it all.
That's why the Mary Lou McDonald interview in the Sunday Independent is especially interesting.
She is articulate, the child of a middle-class family in Dublin and the product of a Catholic, all-girls, fee-paying school. She has also had several decades of experience in frontline Sinn Fein politics.
So, what she said in that weekend interview, especially about the IRA, deserves careful consideration and, in due course, I hope, further interrogation.
Especially significant was her declaration that the IRA "campaign" was "justified".
That "campaign" included the incineration of the victims at La Mon and the IRA murders of Patsy Gillespie and five soldiers at Coshquin.
Were those - and all their other murders - justified?
Bishop Edward Daly said that those who carried out the proxy bombing at Coshquin "proclaim clearly that they follow Satan". However, Sinn Fein prefer to sanitise what Bishop Daly described as Satanic.
The Sinn Fein president also insisted that Sean Russell, the IRA chief-of-staff behind the Coventry bomb in 1939, was a militarist, but not a "Nazi collaborator".
Do Sinn Fein not understand the meaning of the word "collaborator"? And are they unaware of the fact that the IRA leader died on board a Nazi submarine?
After the interview was published, there was widespread criticism from political parties, on both sides of the border, and, in fairness, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail were both forthright in what they said.
It must, however, have been something of an embarrassment for the SDLP, who just a few months ago stepped aside to facilitate the election of a Sinn Fein MP for North Belfast.
In fact, since north Belfast suffered severely from Nazi bombers during the Blitz and since many Protestants and Catholics in the area fell victim to the Nazis, what does that MP think about his party's association with a Nazi collaborator?
Mary Lou first hit the headlines almost 20 years ago at a Sean Russell commemoration. So, how did Sinn Fein respond to the barrage of criticism?
In a contemptuous response, they dismissed and disparaged criticism from other political parties as "performative".
You can see the hand of a well-trained press officer in that succinct reply.
That's why we need to see further interrogation of Mary Lou McDonald and other Sinn Fein leaders, drilling down into the issues, and journalists have a particular and central role to play.
But, in addition to that, there is the fundamental question of where Sinn Fein is going as a party.
That, too, is deserving of interrogation, because so long as Sinn Fein clings on tenaciously to such thinking and so long as it sacralises the Provisional IRA, it will remain a barrier to building a better Northern Ireland.
There is much to be admired about the Sinn Fein president, Mary Lou McDonald. She is an articulate politician and a staunch advocate for social change. Ms McDonald is clearly a vote-getter, but, more importantly, she is not Gerry Adams.