"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Sunday, April 10, 2016


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.
     j) Verify/Verify/Verify

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.


i b arora said...

great tips

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Sounds like excellent advice! The apostle Paul said to be as much like those you were talking to as you could without denying your God. Suppose that same attitude, to help the other person relax and be real, works here. I've interviewed one person in person. That was back in college. Was an assignment. Interviewed a bank executive. I was asked to prepare questions for the presidential candidates by a Texas newspaper in 2008. I simply decided on my questions and emailed them to the editor. And I interviewed a fellow blogger who writes Christian Cowboy poetry for my church and blog once. I made up a list of questions and again we emailed.
Revisit the Tender Years with me during the #AtoZChallenge at Life & Faith in Caneyhead!

Anonymous said...

Some great advice here!
Again to be bookmarked for future research and where interviewing needs to be done.

Jenny from the Block said...

I think interviewing should be done more often. Some instances that come to mind are, to ask questions of someone in an industry you're curious about, to ask questions of someone at a college you're considering attending, or perhaps to sit down and talk with someone you wouldn't normally have the opportunity to do so with. Your tips are thorough and I'm sure could benefit many.

- Jenny