Week 8: Interviewing questions and structure

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Interviewing techniques are really important because they help you get the best out of the subject you are talking to. And they give the audience something interesting to listen to!!

Here’s American Broadcast veteran, Katie Couric talking about what makes a good interview:

  1. Know your subject.
    Now this means a couple of things, not just the person you are interviewing. You need to know more than just their Wikipedia page. And be prepared to take the conversation down a route that may be a long way from where you wanted to go. Why? Well, the more you know about them, the more you can manage them, and the more comfortable they feel, the more they share!
  • Be yourself.
    Honesty is the best policy, and if you are going on air to try and be something you are not, you will crash and burn HARD. In other words, if you were a music aficionado, then you’d be writing for Rolling Stone. Having preparation and knowledge is better than trying to be the know-all. After all, you want the subject to share some of their knowledge.
  • Ask: does the listener care?
    There’s nothing worse than asking a question that is just the same old question asked by the other radio station. What’s your inspiration? Who do you admire? What made you write this song? Find out what your listener is actually interested in, and craft your interview around their needs, not yours!

DOWNLOAD: How to write up a media interview [pdf]

Then follow these steps:

  1. RADIO SCRIPT TEMPLATE TITLE: _______________________________________________
  2. INTERVIEWEE NAME AND CONTACT :  ___________________________________
  3. DURATION: ___________________________________________
  4. WRITTEN BY: __________________________________________
  5. SUGGESTED INTRODUCTION:  First up, you add any suggested introduction you would like the radio announcer to say before playing your segment.
  6. SFX: Use this tag for any sound effects
  7. MUSIC: Use this tag for any music
  8. CHARACTERS: Names each of your characters. Use people’s names to tag any dialogue you will have them say.
  9. AUDIO INSERT: The following section is used when you are inserting pre-recorded audio
  10. AUDIO INSERT NAME: This is the name of the audio clip you are inserting. For example: Sally Turner loses house in floods in NSW Mid North Coast.mp3
  11. IN WORDS: These are the first few words that begin the clip.  For example: “I am with Sally Turner in NSW Mid North Coast”…
  12. OUT WORDS: These are the last few words that end the clip.  For example: “Thank you Sally and good luck”.
  13. DURATION: This is the duration of the clip, which is written as min’ sec”. For example: An audio insert lasting one minute and twenty seconds is noted on the script as 1’20”
  14. AFTER INTERVIEW: Recap guest’s name and title, as well as any website or dates that might be relevant. Don’t ask guests to list dates as they will take twice as long as you.

Talk to a classmate for 10 minutes. Once you both have enough information about each other, spend 10 minutes crafting your questions and interview technique. Then, use your phones and record your interview together. Maximum 3 audio recording minutes each.

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