Optimizing Interview Opportunities Conducting Interviews with Intelligence and Expedience
Who Am I? Keith D’Oria • Managing Editor, Physician’s Weekly • Hospital-based medical news service • Medical news, technological advances, practice management, clinical updates, and CME • Meet the overwhelming demands of the busy clinician • Managing Editor, Patient Education Center (Medical Group Management Association + Physician’s Weekly) • Multimedia information service for medical group practices and their patients • Designed to improve physician-patient communications, medication compliance, and patient outcomes
Preview of Discussion • Before interview • During interview • After interview • Troubleshooting
Have You Experienced This? • You get the assignment, do the research, and chase down the interviewee • In the interview, the interviewee becomes: • Short-winded • Long-winded • Convoluted or wishy washy • Non-newsworthy
Before the Interview • Preparation is the key! • Learn all you can. • Use your resources.
Before the Interview (Cont.) • Know Before You Go: • Outline how you want your story to go. • Collaborate with others. • If you’re freelancing, make sure you know EXACTLY what’s expected of you. • Get directions/instructions • What do you want to eventually say in your story?
Before the Interview (Cont.) • Preparation Critical: • Information gathering. • Get the full studies relating to the topic. • Abstracts are only half the game. • Go to reliable resources. • Medical associations/societies. • Beware of the Internet!
Before the Interview (Cont.) • Make phone calls/e-mails to learn more. • Take adequate time. • Gives you a good idea on the overall scope of the topic – and direction. • Use all of your resources: • Previous acquaintances. • Family friends. • Former contacts.
During the Interview • Stroke the ego. • Be up front. • Record the conversation. • Pay attention. • Questions that matter. • Know your audience.
During the Interview (Cont.) • Stroke the Ego • Tell the interviewee you’ve seen his/her work • Confirm titles, affiliations • Be Upfront/Explain Your Operating Procedure • What will take place? • Explain timeframes. • Explain your goals. • Tell the interviewee about word counts, if necessary .
During the Interview (Cont.) • Tape Record the Conversation • Take notes during the interview. • Dissect what was said. • Take a fact-checking approach. • Pay Attention! • Ask questions if you’re unsure. • Allow time for anecdotes/personal experiences.
During the Interview (Cont.) • Ask Questions that Matter • “Scope” the problem. • Identify barriers to care. • Overcoming those barriers. • Remember these goals: • Enact change in thinking, procedures, etc. • Get to the point quickly – interviewees have limited time
During the Interview (Cont.) • Know your audience: Potential “Home Run” Questions. • When writing for physicians: • Why is it important that physicians realize how big a problem this is? • Why are physicians failing to recognize this problem? • What can physicians do to best fix the problem? • If you were teaching a course to physicians on this topic, what messages would you want conveyed to the class? • What are some messages that physicians should take home from this article?
During the Interview (Cont.) • If you’re writing for consumers: • What are the key points that consumers should recognize when considering this problem? • How can consumers approach these problems proactively? • Are there prevention methods that patients need to take? • What are the key things that patients should ask their doctors? • Where can patients find more information about topic ‘XYZ’?
During the Interview (Cont.) • Interviewee Review • Critical, but often overlooked. • You’ll generate a better story. • Shows the interviewee: • You care about their input. • You care about factual accuracy. • Allow the interviewee to expand upon your work.
After the Interview • Transcribe it yourself. • The thank you note. • Writing copy. • Following your own lead.
After the Interview (Cont.) • Transcribe the tape yourself: • Cut out the extraneous stuff • Obtain the real points that the interviewee may or may not articulate well • Meet deadlines faster (this can add money to your pockets!)
Thank You Note • Send a confirmation note to the interviewee – preferably email • Do it immediately after the interview (think job application) – shows the interviewee you care about their input. • Thank them for the time. • Re-establish your timeframes, deadlines, etc. • Inform them when they can see it in print. • Offer to send a copy of the finished product. • Allows you to develop that resource for future writing opportunities. • Ask questions, if need be.
After the Interview • Writing Copy: • Involve the interviewee. • Get copy close to “perfect”. • Offer a second or third review of the copy after you’ve input their changes. • Use your pre-interview information. • Keep word counts in mind, if necessary.
Trouble-Shooting • Too Little Information. • Doctor Unresponsive.
Trouble-Shooting (Cont.) • Too little information: • Use your resources. • Go back to the interviewee with questions. • During article review, note where you are unclear. • Insert notes if some studies refute what the interviewee said. • Ask for backup information. • Call/email expert groups (eg, societies & academic colleges) for backup information. • A 2nd or 3rd interviewee may need to be interviewed.
Trouble-Shooting (Cont.) • Interviewee Unresponsiveness: • You are awaiting the interviewee to review copy, but it hasn’t been returned (don’t worry – it happens). • Try calling – emails often go unchecked, unanswered. • Try working through media reps at the interviewee’s institutions. • Try working through the interviewee’s assistants/colleagues. • Solicit another interviewee close to the subject matter to review the article.
Conclusion • Prepare, prepare, prepare! • Get help before and after the interview. • Ask the interviewee questions. • Explore all avenues to NOT sacrifice integrity of the article. • Hit a home run rather than fly out. • Get the most out of your work. It’ll only make your efforts better.
Thanks for your time. • Open Forum: • Does anybody have any questions?