What is an interview? How to interview?

It seems that an interview is a usual conversation of a journalist with Just two interlocutors communicate, captivating the reader or the audience with their conversation ... However, a good interview is always a great work of a journalist.

What is an interview

An interview is a separate genre of journalism and a method of gathering information.

what is an interview

Depending on the task of the interview, there are features that must be considered in order for the dialogue to take place. There are also some rules. If they are not followed, the interview will not fulfill its task.

Interviews as a genre of journalism are usually a long dialogue between a journalist and a speaker that is interesting to society. This may be a sports star, a creative person or an expert who is ready to enlighten and give advice on a particular topic. Here is an interesting person.

Interview as a method of extracting information is used as the main tool for creating an article or storyline. The information is taken firsthand from an eyewitness, a participant in the events, and also an expert.These are people - sources of information, without which a journalist will not be able to fully and truthfully prepare material.

The interview will not take place without the interviewee - the interviewer and the interviewer.

Journalist's interest object

The journalist is interested in people. Events, of course, too. But what is an event without a subjective and objective view of it? People who can share information in the journalistic environment are called newsmakers. Usually they are the occasion of the event, its initiators - intentional or accidental.

It will be a mistake to assign newsmakers only to the news area and to consider them as an object of interest only as information carriers. For an interview as a genre, such people are also curious, often in the context of the event in which they participate. Newsmakers for the interview genre should be of interest to the majority.

How to convince to give an interview

It happens that a newsmaker does not want to communicate with a journalist, does not want to give an interview and explain something. Mostly this happens in unpleasant situations. If the speaker is against, do not rush to give up attempts to change his position.For example, if you cover a conflict situation of several parties, present the interview as an opportunity to defend yourself. Formulate something like: “You have the right to refuse to comment, but then the material will be presented only the point of view of your opponent.” Add a refusal to comment "more eloquently" than any comment. And silence is not at all profitable for the newsmaker.

how to interview

Journalists have repeatedly experienced "in battle" three methods of extracting information. These are the following methods:

  • conviction- explain to the person that the interview will provide an opportunity to express their position, and this opportunity should not be neglected at all;
  • request for consultation- it happens that a person refuses an interview, believing that your goal is to talk about him, and because of modesty or other reasons, the interlocutor does not want to give a comment, and you are interested in him as an expert (if you feel a hint of such a mistake, immediately explain that you need advice, and the speaker is interesting to you from this point of view);
  • attempt to watch for- journalists are not always welcomed in a friendly manner, but sometimes this is the only chance to get information. Just do not allow violations of the law!

How to prepare for an interview

What is an interview? This is a painstaking preparation and impromptu preparedness during the conversation. Suppose you have an assignment to interview for a construction magazine. You know the name of your future interlocutor and the scope of his activities. For example, the director of a large construction company that has been building objects in the region for more than 70 years, and 30 of them it was he who fruitfully headed the company. Where to begin? With the collection of information.

Interview topics may vary. Read about this company, look at the objects that it has built, find previous interviews with your future interlocutor. It is desirable that before the interview the journalist owned two important points of information: about the hero and his activities. You can ask mutual friends that they would ask your hero a few questions.

Interview Questions List

You need to prepare for the interview, this is definitely. But do I need a list of questions for the interview or not? Here opinions are divided. So, some journalists believe that the list prevents the hero from opening up, makes the interview “mechanical” and planned. Others are convinced that without a list of questions the conversation can go in the directionnecessary for the interviewee, not for the journalist, so the interviewer is deprived of the right and opportunity to become a “scriptwriter” of the interview and direct the conversation.

an example of an intro

Both points of view seem fair. If you constantly rest on the list of questions, then you can miss a lot of interesting details, about which the interviewee spoke. They will simply be missed because the journalist decides to move on to the next question on his intimate list, thereby not taking advantage of the opportunity to develop another important topic of conversation, a path that is not intended by either the list or the journalist.

However, if you do not compile a list of questions, the interview will lose the plan, lose the outline, may take several hours, and when analyzing the answers it turns out that it turned out to be useless. Only masters of journalism can refuse the list of questions. But if they do not keep it at hand, do not think that this list is not in their head.

A list of questions is desirable for the quality of the interview. It is not necessary to prescribe questions in a certain order and order, it is enough to define the structure and topics. For example, an interview with the head of a construction company can begin with his story about the objects under construction, then you can ask about his way into the construction industry, etc.It can be thematic blocks, it is better to write them down in advance and keep them with you.

Personal and "closed" topics

What questions can I ask in an interview? Any, but within the limits of decency. Although the “yellow” press likes sharp questions, but if you represent another edition, it is better to adhere to the norms generally accepted in the journalistic environment and society. It is possible that the interviewee himself will limit the topics of the interview. His desire is better to respect and not try to find out anything beyond the agreed. If you are not warned about the "forbidden" topics, feel free to ask, but observing ethics.

executive interview

When and what questions to ask

The conversation is advised to start with easy, relevant questions at the moment. These may be the latest events in the life of a newsmaker or details about an event that attracted your attention to this person. Then, promoting the conversation, go to personal questions: about views, attitudes, etc.

You can not start a conversation with the director of a construction company with how he relates to the rumors about the low qualifications of its builders. Problem, difficult questions are better left to the second part of the conversation. Because if you start asking questions from the first minutes that may be unpleasant to your interlocutor or put him in a difficult situation, the conversation may not go well.At the beginning of the meeting you need to gain the confidence of the interviewee, his disposition to you, not allowing you to keep silent or get away from the answer.

How to start an interview?

How to interview? It is necessary to find contact with the interlocutor. If you succeed, then half the success of the conversation is guaranteed, and the second half will provide a brilliant preparation.

How to interview? Where to begin? With greetings, of course. We will not dwell on this, let us turn to practical advice.

It is necessary to talk to the interlocutor, set him on the wave, give an opportunity to relax and feel confident. This can be achieved, for example, by asking the interviewee about children, hobbies, hobbies. Try quickly, as soon as you enter the office, find the following clue: family photo, chessboard, etc.

magazine interview

Configured to the interlocutor

How to interview? Try asking light personal questions to determine: your interlocutor audial or visual. Listen to the speech. If a person speaks words related to listening comprehension (loud, quiet, has died down, etc.), then he is an auditory. If he mostly uses the words “by eye” (bright events, paints, etc.), then the interviewee is a visual.Why do you need it? Have you heard about the method of "mirroring" gestures? With the words is the same. More often say words close to the type of your interlocutor. In general, choose expressions.

It is necessary to sit down in front of the interlocutor:

  • in half a turn - with the usual conversation;
  • head-on, if the interview is on a conflict topic, and you assume that the interlocutor will avoid questions.

Interview errors

Remember that you came to the interview to find out the opinion of the interviewee, to ask him about what will be of interest to your readers and viewers. You need a conversation not at all to show your erudition and awareness, argue or have a chat. In order not to forget why you were seeking a conversation, pay attention to these tips:

  1. Formulate a clear question, not a beautiful declarative sentence - sometimes journalists believe that they asked, but they themselves simply replaced the question with a statement. The interviewee, without hearing the interrogative intonation, may become confused. However, it is allowed to speak instead of a question, but only in order to maintain the position of the interlocutor. But without abuse, a couple of times for the whole conversation, otherwise it will be a sophistic circle, not an interview.
  2. Do not build too long questions.While you wander, formulating the question, you can not understand.
  3. Do not try to complete the questions - ask one by one. If there is more than one question, then one of them will remain unanswered. The interviewee may be confused and crumple the answer.
  4. Keep your own comments and conjectures with you, do not add them to the question. It is admissible: “it seems to us that”, “we analyzed the situation, and came to this conclusion”, etc. But it is also better not to abuse this and use it only as a way to “stir up” the interlocutor.
  5. Labels and stamps off of the questions! For example, the question to the head of a construction company about the complicated process of building a house according to the necessary norms, formulated as “breaking - not building, do you agree?” Sounds strange.
  6. Do not allow questions that lead to an answer. Only if the interlocutor does not want to talk, and the interview is necessary to pass, you can refer to this method. But not often.
  7. Do not interrupt.
  8. Do not provoke. If you plan to ask a couple of provocative questions, soften the wording. You need to get an answer, not deduce the interviewee from yourself.You can push a difficult topic confidently, but unobtrusively.
  9. Ask open-ended questions, that is, those that cannot be answered with a monosyllabic “yes” / “no”, but you need to give a full and complete answer.
  10. Do not flatter the person you are interviewing.

interview topics

How to conduct an interview?

What is a good interview? Such a conversation allows you to learn the maximum of useful information and does not bring discomfort to the newsmaker. A small example of an interview is below.

Event: change of stopping pavilions in the city streets.

Journalist.Why are the pavilions first installed and then removed?

Newsmaker.Non-compliances with technical norms were revealed, the pavilions were made of low-quality materials. They had to be sent to the manufacturer for revision.

Journalist.Who is the manufacturer?

Newsmaker.The tender was won by a local company.

Journalist.Which one?

Newsmaker.Company "Cozy city".

Journalist. What amount will the municipality require due to poor quality work?


This example is schematic. The interlocutor's answer may be incomplete, so clarifying questions with the correct wording are very important.

who is interviewing

Negative example

There is another example of an interview - the “wrong” conversation.

Event: change of stopping pavilions in the city streets.

Journalist.Why are the pavilions first installed and then removed?

Newsmaker.Non-compliances with technical norms were revealed, the pavilions were made of low-quality materials. They had to be sent to the manufacturer for revision.

Journalist.Who is the manufacturer?

Newsmaker: The tender was won by a local company.

Journalist. It turns out that the local company won the tender, received the money and sold the broken boxes instead of stops? Don't you think it's wrong?

The journalist speaks like a philistine, this is unprofessional. Does a local company that won the tender have to get the order through dishonest means? And was the marriage deliberately allowed? A journalist should not speculate, cannot “broadcast” the suspicions of others. The journalist must rely on the facts.

What is an interview? Try to discuss a difficult topic with a loved one or ask him to tell about himself, and then start asking questions. Remember, the answer may push the next question. And do not be embarrassed that it is not on the list.

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