Q&A Interviews. News Gathering. Definition. The Question and Answer interview is a transcribed interview between interviewer and source. It is a direct conversation involving questioning by the interviewer and answers from a source that is published in its entirety from beginning to end. .
The Question and Answer interview is a transcribed interview between interviewer and source.
It is a direct conversation involving questioning by the interviewer and answers from a source that is published in its entirety from beginning to end.
Give some examples of where you would find a Q&A in print? Television? Radio?
While the formal, sit-down interview is an excellent format for traditional reporting and is much like a Q&A, a Q&A format of publication requires the interviewer to be on-spot from the start to finish.
The intention is that the interview is published from start to finish, although it is not always presented as such.
Students will successfully conduct two Q&A interviews, one that focuses on hard news and the other that focuses on soft news.
Hard news: we will look at hard news as current, up-to-the-minute information.
Soft news: background information, features, and human interest.
Before planning and conducting interviews, find three Q&A interviews published in professional publications.
Look at how the Q&A is formatted, how the interview begins, how it flows (look for conversational tone) and how it concludes.
Analyze the interviewers possible intentions based on the questions asked.
Consider looking at television interviews or listening to radio interviews. Compare and contrast the nature of live interviews (audio and video) versus the printed interview.
Also evaluate the interview. Does the interviewer maintain control? Is there an effective exchange of questions and answers? Does the interviewer succeed in gathering news of interest and importance?
As the Q&A shows both your questions and the answers from your source, this news gathering technique basically has you, the interviewer, gathering and composing your work simultaneously.
Go into your interview with good background, a strong list of prepared questions, and anticipate the need to follow up on the spot.
Allow your Q&A to have a feel of storytelling.
Enhance this by focusing on the specifics.
Q&A pitfalls often come from asking questions that are too general and lack probing. Make sure you follow up on responses.
Listen for interesting points and force elaboration.
While print coverage limits the use of this format, online sites can create a section that focuses on the use of Q&A interviews as well as use Q&A interviews to sidebar or color traditional coverage.
The use of audio and video can also enhance the use of this format online.
As a class, make a list of some potential topics and sources that would make for an interesting Q&A for your school community.
Students will address a current topic or issue (if possible, one of a serious nature).
They will use the Q&A to get reaction from sources somehow connected to the topic/issue. This approach can also focus on the timely, up to the minute story. Sports coverage applies. This is a great chance to get first-hand perspectives. Find a source that was part of the event.
- Find the athlete that performs a significant action in a previous game.
- Have an administrator speak on a recent rule change at school. Find a student affected by it.
- Find a school or community member associated either geographically, culturally, or biographically with a major news story.
These will focus more on the event, topic, or issue, and less on the source itself, other than the connection the source has with the event, topic, or issue.
Expect this interview to be shorter than the soft news interview and more specific in the style of questions/answers that serve as reaction.
Using the list of possible topics, ask:
Which would qualify as hard news topics?
Can you add more to the list?
Students may focus on human interest, trend, or feature topics.
While this might have some timeliness as far as news value goes, these may be packaged for future coverage or scheduled for online publication at a later date.
- Perform a series of new teacher Q&A interviews.
- Use students that are prominent members of clubs and organizations.
- Choose students/faculty members that have interesting hobbies, quirks, achievements, connections to celebrities, etc.
Depending on the focus on this Q&A, the length may vary. Human interest Q&A interviews might provide more general, background information, while a trend focus might just get to the point.
As this style of Q&A allows for more planning, get to know the source and the topic prior to the interview.
Which from our list of examples qualifies as a soft news Q&A?
Could you add more to the list?
Use the appropriate style as determined by your staff’s style guide (or AP style).
Always provide a brief introduction to the Q&A that introduces the source.
Set the questions and the responses apart typographically (questions usually in bold; responses in regular type).
Do not use quotation marks.
If your publication is online, consider making a section that allows for regular Q&A interviews.
This is a great way to maximize student coverage, utilize audio and video, and expand story coverage. Most importantly, it allows for frequent interviewing practice.
Try to create a staff schedule of several per week.
This lesson allows you to practice your news gathering skills, especially the art of interviewing.
Remember to do your research, develop questions that provide revealing responses, be polite and conversational, but also be in control.
Following your Q&A interviews, evaluate yourself, especially when capturing your interviews via audio or video.