How to Interview

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interviews are one of the most important parts to journalism. Without interviews journalists stories become less reliable, and that is something that people look for when they read news articles. Some journalists come by this journalism task naturally, while others will never get used to the task of giving an interview.

Many journalists struggle with their first time interviews for many reasons. They may struggle with asking personal questions, or might have a hard time with speaking with strangers. For whatever the reason there is good news for the journalists who struggle with this journalism trait. There is good news though, there are basic techniques that you can practice in order to become more comfortable with giving an interview while becoming better at the task as well.

These are the following keys to a successful interview:

1. Come prepared
Bring the necessary tools such as notepad and a recorder to take notes. Make sure you do research on the the idea of your story, so that you understand the basic terms. Brainstorm the questions that you want to ask the interview before the actual interview.

2. Maintain control
It's important to get great quotes, but if the person you're interviewing starts talking off subject don't be afraid to steer them back in the right direction.

3. Stay natural
Stay loose so that you are easy to talk to. One of the most important things is to make sure that you you make eye contact, because nothing makes a source more nervous then a reporter staring down at their notebook the entire interview.

4. Have a good introduction and a great end to the interview
In the beginning don't jump into asking questions immediately, because if you talk a little before hand it will allow the source to feel like they can open up to you. If those sources feel comfortable like that you will be able to get some quality quotes. When ending an interview make sure that your source has nothing else to say about the subject. Before you part make sure that any questions you have about the interview are answered so when you are writing the story you don't have questions about your notes.

With these tips on how to do the best interview you are sure to do a great interview, and most importantly have no worries of doing any less then a great interview.

Photo credit: Creative Commons


Kimberly Kurimski April 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM  

These tips are so helpful. I haven't had too many terrible interviews, but I definitely struggle with people giving me full sentences. It can be hard to get good quotes from your sources. Next time I interview someone I'll have to keep these tips in mind.

Morgan Fleener April 11, 2011 at 7:29 PM  

Staying natural during an interview is a great way to help the person you are talking to feel like he/she is more able to open up. These tips have helped a lot because I sometimes find myself feeling shy when having to interview a person I am not very familiar with.

David Talley April 13, 2011 at 8:07 AM  

Very nice interview tips. I've personally never had a real problem with interviewing someone because I like to view it as a little conversation. Just being natural and yourself will help a lot in interviews.

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