Interview Techniques

Why interview?

  • Not enough information from research
  • Get the human side to a story
  • Expert opinion
  • Challenge opinions
  • Bring the story alive with direct quotes

How to interview?

  • Detail, find out what, when, how, where and why it happened
  • Opinion, what does your interviewee think about it?
  • Action, what is going to be done about it? What are their future plans?
  • Make notes, if recording- listen back

Types of interview

  • Face-to-face, establishing a rapport and gaining confidence of the interviewee, in an appropriate location
  • Telephone- introduce self, never pretend to be someone else
  • E-mail/social media


  • Don’t ask closed questions
  • Don’t ask multiple questions in one go
  • Don’t stick to a rigid list of questions
  • Do listen carefully
  • Do follow-up on anything interesting said
  •  Ask the questions that your audience wants you to ask
  • Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions if it’s appropriate
  • Be sensitive to the situation
  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat or to explain it

Meeting your interviewee

  • Be friendly and polite
  • Introduce yourself, shake hands
  • Be prepared

Coping with someone difficult

  • Don’t lose your temper
  • Keep the conversation going
  • Wrap it up if necessary
  • Remain polite

Drying up

  • Don’t panic
  • Refer back to your prepared questions
  • Talk in general terms until you get back on track
  • Think back to DOA: detail, opinion, action

Winding up

  • Politely bring the conversation to a close
  • If it’s live, explain that’s all you have time for
  • Say thank you


  • It is important to research before an interview
  • Research helps you decide on relevant questions to ask;
  • Gives you something to start the conversation with;
  • Looks more professional;
  • Avoids you looking unprepared;
  • Provides background material for your article or broadcast;
  • Makes interviewee more at ease;
  • In a press conference you need to know what’s going on

Not doing any research can lead to:

  • Interviewee thinks you are unprofessional
  • He/she may have to repeat information already out there
  • Interviewee is uncomfortable going over information
  • He/she doesn’t relax and give you as much new information as they might have
  • He/she refuses to be interviewed
  • You miss out something important


Research about Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys


Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 14.59.55 Alex Turner born in Sheffield 6 January 1986, became famous and widely recognised in early 2006. He attended Stocksbridge High School with fellow musicians Andy Nicholson, Glyn Jones, and Matt Helders.

As Alex is being interviewed, he admits his addiction to video games: “It’s disgusting how much Grand Theft Auto I’ve played,” admits guitarist Cook. “I make myself sick.” http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/music/arctic-monkeys-interview

The boys from Arctic Monkeys have moved to LA from Sheffield and compare their lives how they were in the UK to how they are now in the USA. Alex mentions how he was excited to move to LA and it “Didn’t disappoint”. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2011/05/arctic-monkeys-qa

In their band they achieved a place in The Guinness World Record for Fastest Selling Debut Album.

Turner listened to the first 13 songs he ever wrote 5 years later because he was “bound to be critical about them”.

Research about Sean Bean


Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 14.59.31

Sean Bean born in Sheffield 17 April 1959, is an actor who played the villains in Patriot Games and GoldenEye. “More recently, he played Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Odysseus in Troy.” http://www.biography.com

He left school with O Levels in Art and English. He went onto studying welding at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology. “While there, he stumbled into an art class and decided to pursue his interest in art.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Bean

After this, Sean Bean decided he wanted a change in career, which lead him to enroll a course in drama.

A film Sean loves is Kes 1969 drama film directed by Ken Loach and produced by Tony Garnett. The film is ranked seventh in the British Film Institute’s Top Ten (British) Films and among the top ten in its List of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kes_(film)

In an interview, Sean says: “I’ve watched that one about 30 times,” Sean reveals. “Some of the things in that remind me of being a kid at school.” He also mentioned that it had a “big effect” on him. http://www.compleatseanbean.com/interview2.html


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