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Interview Techniques. Audio Analysis. As you listen, write down the questions the reporter asks. What questions get the most interesting or in-depth responses? How do the questions get at what is interesting or important about the story?. Interview Tip #1.

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Audio analysis
Audio Analysis

  • As you listen, write down the questions the reporter asks.

  • What questions get the most interesting or in-depth responses?

  • How do the questions get at what is interesting or important about the story?

Interview tip 1
Interview Tip #1

  • Research: Read and obtain background information about the subject, source or topic at hand before interviewing so that you can ask informed questions.

Interview tip 2
Interview Tip #2

  • Ask simple questions: Keep your questions short, to the point and focused. Otherwise you risk distracting or confusing your subject, or allowing him or her to answer only part of a complex question. Break down complicated questions into shorter, simpler questions.

Interview tips 3
Interview Tips #3

  • Limit closed-ended questions; use mostly open-ended questions: Closed-ended questions are yes-or-no questions or those that invite very basic, one-word answers. Open-ended questions often begin with “Why?” and “How?” or phrases such as “Tell me about … ” or “How does that make you feel?” They invite longer, more insightful responses.

Interview tip 4
Interview Tip #4

  • Ask follow-up questions: An inexperienced interviewer asks a question, notes the response then moves on to the next question. Don’t stick to the script — listen to the answers and probe further before moving on to your prepared questions. Often it is during a follow-up question that the right quote falls into your lap. “Following up” can also involve a non-question, like a sympathetic response or a gesture of surprise or admiration.

Interview tips 5
Interview Tips #5

  • Take notes: While having an audio recorder is helpful, always keep a notebook handy and use it to jot down quotes, statistics or facts that strike you. You might also want to write down physical details about your environment and your subject’s appearance, facial expressions and voice. But be sure to look up from your notebook and maintain eye contact.

Interview tip 6
Interview Tip #6

  • Be conversational without having a conversation: Keep the interview informal and casual, not overly scripted, and go with the flow, allowing your subject to switch directions –- as long as you remain in control of the interview and are prepared to steer it back to your topic as needed.

Katie couric on interviewing
Katie Couric on Interviewing

  • As you listen, write down the tips she suggests for interviewers.

  • What new tips does she suggest that are not part of our list?

Katie couric tips
Katie Couric Tips

  • Be a gracious host

  • Calibrate your tone according to your subject

  • Use open-ended questions

  • Anticipate possible follow-up questions

  • Listen: don’t stick to the “script”

  • Inform and communicate

Interview practice
Interview Practice

  • Research. Read your subject’s Interest Inventory and underline a few things that are interesting and important.

  • Ask simple questions.Create a few questions to begin your interview to get your subject talking.

  • Limit closed-ended questions; use mostly open-ended questions.Make sure there are not one word responses to the questions you write.

  • Ask follow-up questions.Like Katie Couric said, use your research to anticipate follow-up questions.

  • Take notes.Start with answering the 5Ws and H

  • Be conversational without having a conversation.Remember you’re classmates, but the interview is about your subject, not you. Listen.


  • Annotate your subject’s interest inventory

  • Underline Interesting & Important things

Create a list of questions
Create a list of Questions

  • Come up with 2 close-ended warm-up questions to put your subject at ease

  • Create no fewer than 3 open-ended questions and anticipate a follow up for each

  • Create surprise question