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Transcript of Interviews
Don’t just read a list of questions! Interview = a dialogue. Let responses guide additional questions.
One question at a time!
Ask for the spelling of names and other unfamiliar words.
Repeat statements back to him or her, to show that you are listening and to insure that you understood correctly.
Ask for other sources
Before leaving, ask how you may reach him or her for additional information or clarification.
Ask open-ended questions
"Will the new program benefit students?"
"How will the new program impact students?"
First, introduce yourself and thank the person for meeting/speaking with you.
Remind the interviewee what you're writing about.
Short interviews = get to the point
Longer = break the ice first
Always be polite, poised, alert and attentive.
Consider your body language.
Record everything! (after obtaining permission)
LISTEN. Awkward silences = okay
Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
Say want you need.
Don’t be afraid to ask. No question is foolish if it’s sincere and helps you write a better story.
Research, research, research. Repeat.
Read related stories about the interviewee and the topic.
Ask yourself, "Why am I conducting this interview? What kind of story will I write?"
Develop a list of questions, making sure that you’ll leave the interview knowing :
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW and MORE
Put yourself in the shoes of your readers
Organize your questions (at least 8-10)
ALWAYS strive to conduct interviews in person!
If all else fails, schedule a phone interview. NEVER email or text.
Can't reach your contact? Try, try again.
Establish exactly when and where you'll meet. (Or who will call whom.)
by Jodi Tandet
"Are you angry?" or "Were you happy?"
"How do you feel?" or "How did you react?"
DON'T USE LOADED WORDS
plan vs. scheme
government vs. regime
expert vs. elitist
"My theory of interviewing is that whatever you have, use it. If you are confused, use that. If you have raw curiosity, use that. If you have experience, use that. If you have a lot of research, use that. But figure out what it is you have and make it work for you."
- Terry Gross, NPR radio host