Useful Interview Techniques
· More news is gathered by talking with people than by direct observation. Talking with people is necessary to put in perspective even what the reporter sees.
· News is almost always made by people — they either do it or it is done to them.
· The people aspect of the story is what enables your reader to relate to it.
THE KEY to a successful interview: Get your subject to talk freely.
Prepare carefully in advance. Research the person, the topic, the issue, the opposition, etc. Do research in a variety of media – not only on the Internet, but also newspapers, magazines, etc. Talk with other people who know the person and about the subject.
Plan your interview. Know what you want to find out from the interviewee. Make a list of questions in the order you plan to ask them. Start with the easy questions before you go for the hard stuff.
Make an appointment. Identify yourself and your paper, and tell your source the purpose of the interview. Ask when would be a good time for an interview, and try to arrange it under circumstances that will allow you plenty of time without interruptions. If possible, conduct the interview in a place where something is going to happen; you may witness scenes that will add life and drama to your story.
Mind your manners. Dress appropriately. Be punctual; allow extra time to get to the interview – expect the bus to late and there to be heavy traffic. Smile and shake hands. Make eye contact. Nod, smile and look interested. Say please and thank you. Show your subject respect.
Set the ground rules before you begin. Make certain the person understands the interview is for the record. If you are taping the interview, tell the person and get his or her OK on tape. (Taping is a good idea – if it is done as a backup for your notes, not a substitute. Be sure to check the tape recorder, tape and batteries. Label the tapes with the subject and date.)
Treat the interview like a conversation, but let the interviewee