12 tips + 6 hints for interviewing for print

wall to be blue

Think before you interview

If you need to interview a stranger in order to write a story, try these tips.

  1. Plan a structured conversation to get a person to talk thoughtfully and revealingly about the area you’ve agreed to discuss.
  2. Do research in advance.
  3. Focus, focus, focus your questions.
  4. Listen, listen, listen. S/he may say something more exciting than you thought to ask.
  5. Ask tough questions to get good answers.
  6. Check facts after the interview because people make mistakes, misremember and lie.
  7. Be honest about the publication where the interview will appear.
  8. Never pretend you’re somebody you’re not.
  9. If you make promises – length of interview, respecting confidences – stick to them.
  10. Give subject a chance to expound on this subject. Shut up.
  11. Plan your attire according to the person and place.
  12. Anticipate what your readers would want to know.

Use quotations in print and broadcast media

  • When they are interesting or surprising.
  • When they move the action forward.
  • When they are unique, showing the personality of the speaker.
  • To substantiate or provide authority.
  • To show controversy.
  • To show, not tell.