3 Tips For Interviewing Someone For A Story Or Report

If you have the task set before you to write some kind of story or report, be it for an article that you’re having published, a book that you’re the author of, or a report for the police department, there are a few things that you should know about interviewing subjects so that you can get all of the information you need from your sources.

To help you learn just how this can be done, here are three tips for interviewing someone for a story or report. 

Get The Background Information

Before you go into any interview situation, you’re going to want to have done some research and gotten as much background information as you can.

While there can be a benefit to getting background information straight from your source, especially if it’s for something like a police report or you’re trying to get the tone and personality of the person you’re interviewing, in many cases, this could prove to just be a waste of time. If it’s information that you can quickly and easily find through your own research, it’s often best to do this beforehand so that you’re more prepared for your interview. 

By doing research before you interview so that you already have a firm understanding of the background information for your source, you can better come up with questions to ask and help to set the mood of the interview so that your subject will feel safe and comfortable opening up to you. You can still ask them to tell you about themselves as you start the interview, but already knowing a bit of this information may prove to be helpful to you. 

Keep Your Questions Open-Ended

As you’re preparing questions that you’ll want to ask during the interview process, you should try to find ways to ask questions in an open-ended way. 

If your questions only require a yes or no answer, or even just a short answer that could be given in a few words, you might find it hard to actually get the information you’re wanting from your interview. But if you can pose your questions so that they encourage your source to give you explanations and go into more detail with their responses, you’ll get a more complete answer and a better quote for your story or report, too. 

Use The Right Tools

In many cases, an interview can be a high-stress situation on both sides of the conversation. While you want to make sure you’re getting the information you need, your source might be worried about revealing too much information or saying the wrong thing. And something that can up the stress on both sides is if you’re quickly scribbling away notes throughout the entire conversation.

To avoid this, consider setting up some tools to use during the interview process. You can use a video recorder or an audio recorder so that you have an exact reference for what happened and what was said without worrying about getting it right by hand. 

If you’ll soon be conducting an interview, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you get the most out of your time speaking with your subject.