Get the Interview

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sitting on the other side of the table in the office can be difficult to grasp sometimes.

Many people are not comfortable interviewing other people. As a journalist, you cannot fear interviewing people or introducing yourself to perfect strangers.

Being personable is simply part of a journalist's job. It is an absolutely necessity to have.

This last week, for many students in class, was the first time interviewing someone for a story.

I found some helpful tips for those of you who may have struggled or just want to improve.

Ten Tips for a Better Interview can be helpful for knowing the basic guidelines.

Tip 1: Be prepared and don't ever think you'll be fine if you slack a bit.

Tip 2: Make sure the person you're interviewing knows exactly what you are wanting to write about.

Tip 3: Be punctual. Do not be late as it gives a horrible first impression, and many people that are interviewed have busy schedules.

Tip 4: Be observant during the interview to sort of gain a better understanding of the person being interviewed.

Tip 5: Be polite. Manners are a must when interviewing people. After all, they do not have to let you interview them.

Tip 6: Listen intently but if you don't understand something, speak up. Most people being interviewed are happy to explain things further.

Tip 7: Remain silent sometimes. If the person being interviewed doesn't like a question you might have asked they may become silent. Do not break the silence, usually the other person will get too uncomfortable and break the silence with the answer.

Tip 8: Make eye contact. The interview should flow sort of like a conversation, which makes your interview more personable and go better as a general rule.

Tip 9: Before leaving ask the person if there was anything you missed, and thank them for their time.

Tip 10: Review the notes you take after the interview and don't wait until the day your story is due.

Bonus tip: Take some kind of a voice recorder. For more information on that, check out Top Tool for a Journalist.

With those tips taken into consideration, you will become a pro-interviewer soon enough.


Kati Herr October 11, 2010 at 7:49 PM  

Very interesting topic, Angela. It is great to read a blog that provides useful advice to a journalist rather than just informing the journalist of information. You had a great source and had a lot of good information.
Thank you!

taramaurer October 11, 2010 at 10:20 PM  

I love tip seven. In the circumstances I have been in, this tip has applied when my interviewee gives me a short answer. If I remained silent after the person answered, the interviewee wanted to fill the silence and provided me with more details. These details sometimes led me to other questions and, in the end, an even better story. Overall, all of theses tips are great.

Paul Salais October 12, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

Tip 3 is one of the the main components of a good interview in my opinion. If you show up late you are almost making up ground the whole time to try and convince them that it doesn't matter that you were late. If you are late you might as well turn around and leave because first impressions are everything.

Basically, don't be late.

Alejandro Caballero October 12, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

Here's a tip that helps me a lot and perhaps might help you as well:
1- Get into "character" just like an actor would do.

Movie actors always study their characters for weeks, if not months, to deliver great performances.

Think of yourself as an important, professional and confident journalist. If possible, study the way other journalists behave and talk by watching documentary films or any news channel.

It might sound silly, but it actually works.

Nicole Gilbert October 12, 2010 at 7:22 PM  

I agree with everyone that these tips are great and very useful! Nice topic choice! I also would have to say tip number 3 is very important because being late just sets the mood in a negative way. It makes the other peson feel as if you do not care enough to be on time. Also if you are late you will already be stressed and rushed so like Paul said don't be late.

Angela Niesz October 13, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

Thanks everyone. I wanted to blog about something that would be useful for everyone, and I can see I was successful in doing so.

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