Interviewing

Paired with good notetaking, great interviewing skills can mean the difference between a decent comment and a bombshell quote. We’ve outlined some tips to get you started but there’s really no substitute for going out there and doing it—practice makes perfect. Above all, be prepared, be engaged and be present! The best interviewers are those who are interested in their subjects.

ASSIGNMENT REQUIREMENTS

Check in with a Documenters Manager for requirements on this role.

TIPS

  1. Pre-interview: Jot down questions before you conduct an interview. The list can be short or long, simple or complex. Interviewing a public figure? Read previous interviews your subject has given to push the dialogue further.
  2. Introduce yourself: Tell your subjects who you are and how their interview responses will be used.
  3. Ask what you don’t know: Avoid “gotcha” questions. Ask questions that deserve answers. Chances are, someone else is wondering the same thing.
  4. Open and closed questions: Closed-ended questions result in “yes” or “no” answers. Open-ended questions are designed to get more than one-word answers. Good interviews feature a mix of both. And don’t hesitate to follow up with an additional question if the response isn’t clear or sufficient.
  5. Perspectives: Interview people with a variety of points of view—a range of voices will help ensure you understand your topic, and raise new avenues of inquiry.

CHECKLIST

ON ASSIGNMENT NOW?

Call or text 708-820-2154 any time with any questions or concerns. For any non-immediate needs email us directly at documenters@citybureau.org.