How to wisely choose interviewees

 

Not every interesting person or VIP is a good storyteller and gives direct answers to direct questions. Interesting, funny, and intelligent interviews are every journalist's dream. But how can you find such interviewees? Here are a few tips.

 

1. Be prepared

The more specifics you can tell your interviewee in advance about what you want to achieve with the interview, the easier it will be for the both of you - in conversation and then afterwards, in the authorization. Email a few sample questions to your interviewee so he can be prepared and knows what to expect. Also, make sure your interviewee knows your target audience.

 

2. Expertise is not always sufficient

If your interviewee happens to be an expert on a specific topic, even better! But expertise in itself is not always sufficient. Your interviewee must be able to clearly and understandably talk about his topic which is not always taken for granted. Therefore, inform yourself in advance not only about what your interviewee has to say - but also look through publications, radio / TV interviews or possibly ask the relevant publicist about how your interviewee talks and explains things.

 

3. Who knows who?

Do you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who talked to your desired interviewee before? Maybe you'll get helpful hints on what you can ask your interviewee - and what you should rather avoid in your interview.

 

4. Double interviews

The double interview bears chances as well as pitfalls. If there is a contrast between two interviewees, a double interview can be very valuable. For example, if one interviewee is for death penalty, and the other one is against it, then you probably will have an exciting interview to present to you audience. But if both interviewees agree on all issues or topics, then a double interview really is a single one. And it is also boring. Therefore, choosing your interviewee and preparing for a double interview, look for different opinions and perspectives!

 

Learn more about interviewing techniques in our course module "Interviews".