Thursday, February 22, 2007

Interviewing Tips for Reporters

Most of this list of interviewing commandments is condensed from a reportby Karl Harter published in Creativity Connection from the University ofWisconsin-Madison.

1. Do your homework. Always be prepared.
2. Be punctual.
3. Tape whenever possible.
4. Note details, including mannerisms. (Realize, however, that a tic orevasiveness may not be the result of the questioning. Some people are normally shy or nervous.)
5. Avoid yes-or-no questions.
6. Take copious notes. If you get behind, ask the subject to give you amoment to catch up so you don't miss or misunderstand good information.
7. Be yourself. That should be simple because the discussion will be about the other person and you will have something to talk about. You won't have tocreate small talk.
8. Proceed from nice. Save the tough questions for later.
9. Drop names if it will help you get an interview.
10. Ask questions, shut up and take notes. Give the person plenty of time toanswer, even to the extent of prolonging pauses. (This will give you a chanceto catch up on your note taking and it will give the subject a change toreorganize, refine or embellish the initial response.)
11. Be sure the person knows your name and phone number.
12. Ask the person if you can call later if you need to clarify something.Then don't hesitate to call.
13. Be certain the subject knows the reason for the interview. If you suspectsomeone of cheating people, don't ask for an interview about the person'sunusual hobby.


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