Improve your interviewing skills

Good reporting makes for a good story. If you’re considering becoming a journalist, it’s important to make sure your interviewing skills are just as competent as your writing skills.

 Sites such as MediaCollege and CCJ have developed a list of fundamental skills journalists must acquire before and during an interview. These sites also offer a variety of additional information on how to develop, format, and write a news-worthy story.

Out of the numerous tips MediaCollege and CCJ have listed, I have chosen four that will put you on the path to becoming a serious journalist.

Do your homework. You should have a familiarity of who your subject is. The quality of your questions will be determined by how will you did your research. A lack of background research may make you appear less credible.

Have a list of questions. Creating a variety of questions will help to cover all angles of the story. You should however, be prepared to improvise and revise your questions during the interview.  Refrain from asking close-ended questions. They don’t allow for an emotional response. Open-ended questions encourage a meaningful response and generally have quoting potential.

Listen. It may seem obvious, but it’s a common mistake to be thinking about the next question while the subject is still answering the previous one. You don’t want to ask a question in which the interviewee has already covered.

Be prepared. Breaking news can happen at any time. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your interviewing tools in close reach.

Using these skills won’t make you an inspired journalist right away. It may take multiple interviews to successfully feel like you’re just getting the hang of it, but at one point, all journalists were beginners too.

Alexa Deacon

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