Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Conducting interviews

From: Writing Articles

Video: Conducting interviews

Interviews are a great way to get information from the people who know it best. Nearly every article I write ends up including quotes from an interview subject, because quotes can give an article credibility, personality, and focus. Sometimes when I've struggled with finding an article's hook just talking with someone at the center of the subject gives me exactly what I need. Your first step is to find appropriate people to interview. One way is to contact people who are quoted in similar articles. On one hand, you know that you'll get someone who's willing to talk with the press, but on the other, that could make your article seem a little like a rehash. Going a little deeper, you might find an expert who's mentioned in other articles but not quoted. Or maybe you'll find people who have established themselves as experts in other ways.

Conducting interviews

Interviews are a great way to get information from the people who know it best. Nearly every article I write ends up including quotes from an interview subject, because quotes can give an article credibility, personality, and focus. Sometimes when I've struggled with finding an article's hook just talking with someone at the center of the subject gives me exactly what I need. Your first step is to find appropriate people to interview. One way is to contact people who are quoted in similar articles. On one hand, you know that you'll get someone who's willing to talk with the press, but on the other, that could make your article seem a little like a rehash. Going a little deeper, you might find an expert who's mentioned in other articles but not quoted. Or maybe you'll find people who have established themselves as experts in other ways.

However you identify the right people, track them down and send emails to ask for interviews. I've included a template of such an email in the exercise file for this video. Sometimes you'll be given an interview subject. That's the case in our example article, where we're expected to include a quote from a specific person. I still recommend you treat that interview subject like all the others, by nailing down the details early. Now, some subjects will want to see the interview questions beforehand, or they'll prefer to answer them by email rather than in a phone call.

It's really your decision whether to do this. In my experience an impromptu live conversation gives me better quotes, and sometimes it's rambling nature leaves me to delve into areas that I hadn't considered before. But on the other hand, an email interview lets those subject do background research, and some interview subjects may need to run there answers by other people in their organization. So an email interview might be the only way to reach them. But let's say that you succeed in getting a voice interview. Be ready to take notes, and if possible, to record the call for accuracy.

It's polite, and in some cases legally required, to let your interview subject know that you're recording the call. Here are a few ways to do it. Just so you know, I'll be taking notes well we talk, so sorry if there's a bit of a gap from time to time. I'll just be catching up. Also, I'm recording this to make sure I quote you correctly. Is that okay? I want to make sure I get your quotes right. Do you mind if I record this? I will also be taking notes, but the recording will speed things up. I'll be typing while we talk, but I'll also record the call, just be sure I get your quotes right. Is that okay? As you can see, it's not really that hard, and it's even easier if you prepare the interview subject ahead of time with a friendly email.

Now, a lot of people freeze up at the idea of talking to the media. I think that's because reporters in the movies are always shown shoving microphones at people as they're being hustled away from a courtroom. But in reality, most interviews with people who want to talk with you. They might still be nervous about it, but they'll open up if you treat the interview like what it really is: a conversation between two people just trying to make a story more interesting, thoughtful, and accurate.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Writing Articles
Writing Articles

20 video lessons · 9954 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Writing Articles.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.