Keys To A Great Interview

Interviewing is one of the most fun and rewarding parts of journalism. Throughout your journalistic career, you’ll have numerous dynamic conversations with unique people of varying backgrounds. The different perspectives make it an educational experience everytime. But they can only be dynamic if you prepare beforehand and conduct it right. Here are a few tips to nail the perfect interview.

1. NEVER give the interviewee questions beforehand.

I’ve found that it’s ok to give a general idea of your angle. But specific questions limit what you can ask the interviewer. It also allows the interviewee to have rehearsed answers. You want real soundbites/quotes. Not fluff.

2. Be On Time

Pretty simple. It makes you look bad. There’s nothing worse than keeping somebody waiting.

3. Equipment Check

Always make sure your equipment is working. Bring extra batteries for recorders, tapes, discs etc. You never know what can happen. (Ex: Your tape gets rain damaged.)

4. Keep it quick

Have no more than 5 questions. Ask your most important question first. Get to the point. The more pressed the interviewee is the less time they will have and the more likely they will cut the interview short.

5. Be sure of your facts

Nothing is worse than when an interviewee tells a reporter they are wrong. Research beforehand. Also, don’t put too much detail into a question. The more detail there is in the question the more difficult it is for the interviewee to track what you are asking. Be as direct as you can without being rude.

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