Interview Tips For The Budding Journalist

If you don’t know shorthand, you’ll have to record your interviews

On a landline

  • You’ll need a dedicated telephone recorder

On a computer

  • Skype or Audacity ( Skype or VoIP calls or Audacity for recording)

Equipment

  • Digital Dictaphone
  • Smart Phones

Technical Tips

  • Make sure the equipment is working, test it before interview
  • Check that you’re recording properly during the interview
  • If positioning the mic, it’s more important you pick up the answers rather than your questions
  • If interviewing in person, choose a quite location
  • When using Skype, shut down any other applications that use bandwidth

Preperation

When putting together questions:

  • Do your research in advance. Find out about the subject or their specialism
  • There are only six basic questions; Who, What, Where, Why and How
  • Avoid asking questions that verify elsewhere Eg: What date does the exhibition start?
  • Get the human story, the person’s opinions and feeling
  • If asked, you can give your interviewee questions in advance – but remember you will get prepared answers…
  • Don’t go on too long. Twenty minutes to half an hour should be fine for any interview
  • Be natural and conversational
  • Be respectful and polite
  • Listen – this will enable you to pick up threads
  • Ask your most important question first
  • If asked by the interviewee if they can see your copy before publication, politely decline

There are basic ways you can format an interview

  • Q and A

Question followed by answer followed by question

  • Inline

using quotes from an interview in the paragraph you are writing

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