For the last 10 days I've been sharing tips on interviewing, and reminiscing about favorite interview subjects. I've even mentioned how some of them have inspired me personally. One such instance led me to write a western short story that was originally published by Rope and Wire. You can now download that story here.
If you are planning to conduct your own interview, here are some thoughts to consider:
There are two basic types of interviews:
1) Formal - a planned/scheduled time with prepared questions.
2) Informal - thought questions - spur of the moment.
1) Set your appointmet.
2) Complete background work - research.
3) Outline your questions - for examples see the post here.
You might also read here.
1) Notepad - paper is usually best because electronics can malfunction.
2) Recorder - get their permission to record at the beginning of the recording - it's just good manners.
3) Photography - have a way to take a picture of your subject or arrange to get one from them.
When you interview someone, please be aware of your rapport and dress - having conversations with sources is the key to most stories.
1) Your ability to make people comfortable with you is the difference between mediocre reporting/research and good story telling.
2) It may be something as trifling as your appearance that determines whether you will have a successful interview.
a) Be on time.
b) Be prepared.
c) Be friendly.
d) Be open-minded.
e) Take notes - assume the recorder isn't working.
f) Dress appropriately.
g) Look your subject in the eye.
h) Leave the door open for future visits - "May I contact you again?"
i) Listen with a "grain of salt" - not all interviewees are honest or unbiased.
After the interview:
1) Organize your notes immediately - especially if you used shorthand. Fill in any blanks while the information is fresh in your mind.
2) Check accuracy - spelling, dates, statistics, and quotes.