Interviewing is one of the most important elements of strong journalistic writing. It’s research. It’s establishing contact with someone who could prove to be a regular resource. It’s quite simply the “gathering of information on behalf of an audience by asking questions,” according to Professor Ken Metzler, author of Creative Interviewing. And it should be fun.
Yet interviewing is often overlooked. Sure, communicators can write, but can they competently interview fellow employees, senior executives or even the CEO for the company newsletter?
According to Metzler, the three most important characteristics of the interviewer are sincerity, openmindedness and strong listening ability. Metzler, by the way, is professor emeritus at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. In his book, Creative Interviewing, he provides myriad tactics to conduct a good interview including these 16 helpful tips and reminders (plus our comments) that will take you from a good interview to a great one.
1. “The best interviewers are those who enjoy people and are eager to learn more about the people they meet—and who are eternally curious about darned near everything.”