Interview TechniquesInterviewing for a news story is not as easy as you might think. It takesresearch, preparation, and, most of all, Dr. K’s sage advice to . . .
THREE PHASES OF AN INTERVIEW BEFORE DURING AFTER Phone Log When to arrive Freewriting Research How to sit Making Notes Questions How to manage Thank You Note Recon How to ask Supplies & Copies How to conclude
Don’t forget: You need to know how you are going to conduct your interview—Do you plan make an audio? Video? Are youbringing a camera crew? Will you be taking pictures? Make sure you know before you make an appointment!!
Before the InterviewMake a phone log! Phone Name Company Date/Time Resolution (404)555-5555 Ms. Jones XYZ Corp. 1:20 p.m. 4/14 Call Ms. Smith @ 3 p.m. Friday. Fill out Before Fill out Before Fill out Before you call. you call. you call. Set calendar to remind you!Research the Company THEM!!
Before the InterviewInterview Appointment 10 a.m or 1 p.m. is best! Tell them how you will conduct interview—they need to know! THEM!
Before the InterviewMake some questions! Have at least 5 questions ready! Use 3X5 or 5X7 Cards (looks more professional) Don’t ask any question you could have gotten the answer to on Google. Make sure you use interview time well. It is VALUABLE. Make the most of it!
Before the InterviewReconnaissance: Check it out! Go to the interview location the day before. Introduce yourself. Ask if there is any literature on the company you can study before your interview. Check out what they are wearing and wear something 1 step better (not too much!). You want to make them feel comfortable.
Before the InterviewShopping! Purchase 3x5/5x7 cards. Purchase simple pocket portfolio folder. Keep all the stuff for the interview in it, and file in when you are done! Purchase reporter’s notepad or small notebook to use. Make sure you have at least two good pens! PLACE ALL THESE THINGS IN FOLDER.
During the Interview Bring Press Credentials if you have them. Arrive 15 minutes early. Bring only your folder and what you need for the interview. Introduce yourself to receptionist. Look around! The environment should help you decide which questions to ask!
During the Interview When you get into the room, ask where to sit. Introduce yourself while standing. After you sit, pull out questions, notebook, pen, and tape recorder (as appropriate). Ask again if they mind being taped/ videoed/ photographed. Ask for names and titles or business cards of those you interview. If it is more than one person, write names or arrange business cards to show where they are sitting.
During the Interview Begin sitting in neutral position (back against chair, feet in front, hands on cards/notebook or folded on table). Ask question and wait slow 10-count before restating question in a different way. Don’t interrupt! When they are finished answering, wait politely. It will seem like forever. KEEP WAITING! They will talk.
During the Interview Write their answers under the questions you wrote on the cards. You can write additional questions/answers on extra cards or in notebook. Put cards aside as they answer so you don’t have to flip through them later. If you are taping, write notes anyway! You DON’T want to sit through that interview 25 times to find that quote you should have written down!
During the Interview When you are done, ask them when and how it would be convenient to contact them if you have any further questions. Many times you will be asked if they can see the story before it goes to print. The answer is ALWAYS “NO.” Say it nicely: “I’m on deadline, so that probably won’t be possible. However, I have your contact information in case I have any follow up questions.” Thank them for their time, and give them your card so they can contact you if they think of anything they would like to add.
After the Interview Sit somewhere quiet and write about the interview. This is when you write the details that will color the piece. What did they look like? What was the atmosphere? What emotion was conveyed? Etc. Details will become fuzzy later. DO THIS RIGHT AWAY! Send them an e-mail Thank You: • Keep it simple: “Thank you for your time. Sincerely, . . . “