how to conduct an interview: practical tipps

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  • 1. Natalia Karbasova Chengcheng Zhu 20. Januar 2010 // MBK


  • - a focussed exchange of questions and answers with the objective of acquiring information
  • Length:3-20 min.


  • to get accurate and interesting information for your story
  • to get the interviewee to say something that he/she isnt prepared to say.
  • and
  • sometimes - to say something that they may not really have thought about.


  • Interviews to bebroadcast/published
  • as a whole
  • InformationInterview -facts & figures about certain topics
  • Opinion Interview -what the interviewee thinks
  • of a specific issue,event or development
  • Personality Interview -personality of the interviewee


  • Interviews astools
  • Research Interview research or double-check information.Get additional infos for writing reports/commentaries
  • Statement Interview -get an individual statementwhich becomes part of another jounalistic piece


  • Be prepared!
  • Motto, Boy Scouts of America
  • Always prepared!
  • Motto, Soviet pioneers

8. Focus on one topic Define the goal Research the topic Interviewees Time &place Selecting Topic FormatTimePlace Briefing the interviewees zzzzzzzzz Preparing the interview 9.

  • Topic
  • Past interviews
  • Publications
  • Biography
  • Activities
  • Better to beover-preparedthan under-prepared

10. 11. 12. 13.

  • Save your toughest questions for last
  • This enables time to build trust with your interview subject


  • Tough, specific questions first
  • Use if you have little time
  • Use if you need to nail down an answer

15. 16.

  • Gain trust of the subject
  • Honesty and empathy almost always work
  • Address the subject by name in practically every sentence
  • Eye contact
  • GOAL : Make the interviewee relax and really TALK instead of just answering questions


  • Anticipate answers as part of your plan
  • Be alert for intentional drifters - interviewees who deliberately change the focus of a question ("I'm still wondering about the original question..." , "You didn't answer the question.)
  • Know when and how to interrupt to keep the subject from rambling
  • Make sure that your key questions are answered
  • Ask follow-up questions

18. 19. 20.

  • First question should be friendly and easy
  • Ask critical questions after youve established a rapport
  • If you dont get a direct answer, ask later in different words
  • Politenessallows you to ask hard-nosed questions without being rude

21. 22. 23.

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How


  • Blamesomeone else for the question
  • Implythat the question is a playful one
  • Prefacethe question with some praise.
  • Useseparate, apparently disconnected questions
  • Askthe question in a matter-of-fact manner, no matter how sensible the area.

25. 26. 27. 28.

  • Specify the amount of time you will need
  • Create a good first impression its critical
  • When meeting someone for the first time, its better to be a little formal at the outset. Never be familiar
  • The good interviewer listens carefully, but not passively
  • Have a conversation


  • Don't be fixated on your notebook
  • Dont gaze at your watch showing that youre in a rush (if you are not)
  • Dont interrupt when the subject is talking
  • Don't try to shout down someone or get defensive
  • Stupidity is a reporters greatest asset. So, dont be afraid to say: I dont understand


  • One final question
  • Is there anything you think important which I havent asked?
  • Who else should I speak to about this topic?
  • Thanks for giving me your time and some great quotes.
  • Make sure you can contact the interviewee later


  • Double-check the information
  • Statistics are often manipulated - be prepared to confirm all statistics with
  • an independent source
  • Keep in touch like whine, a good source improves with age and occasional care.

32. 33. 34.

  • John Brady, The Craft of Interview
  • DW-Akademie, Manual for Radio Journalists


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