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Week 5 Monday


  1. Check out my reminder email last Friday for the Photojournalism Assignment (👉Review the assignment document before submission. DUE midnight tonight🌛.)
  2. This Wednesday: Class Field Trip to Laramie Boomerang. Meet at 320 Grand Avenue by 9:10 a.m. We will leave the Boomerang by 9:40 a.m.
  3. Sign-Up for Individual Meetings with Instructor for next week.
  4. Review of Interviewing Tips.
  5. In-Class Interviewing Activity.

📝Sign-Up for Individual Meetings for next week

Go to Wyocourses👉Course Homepage👉In-Class Activities👉Sign up for the individual meeting for web story

🎙️Tips for Interviewing Someone

Your interview will be very quick if you don’t research the topic. You need to spend at least 1-2 hours researching the story topic in order to write STRONG QUESTIONS for the interview. Consider multiple perspectives of whatever issue you are reporting, too, and find sources of multiple perspectives. Photo courtesy of The Association of Independent Information Professionals.
  • First, realize that your interviews are essential to the story. Without strong interviews, you got nothing!
  • Be prepared. Inform yourself about the topic, source, and/or interviewee. Do some background research on the story and educate yourself. Informed questions are the best questions.
  • Write your questions by hand: You remember things more when you hand-write vs. type. The questions will stick more if you hand-write them.
  • Practice your interview questions beforehand if you’re nervous or want to feel better-prepared going into the interview. It never hurts to practice. And practice being curious-sounding, professional, and clam rather than accusatory, aggressive, or a know-it-all.
  • Make small talk before the interview. It relaxes you and the interviewee. Talk about the weather, their office, the location of the interview, etc.
  • Voice recording. Ask permission to record the interview, if you want to. Check out PC Magazine’s Best Voice Recorder Apps for some suggestions.
Always take notes during interviews, even when recording the interview. Listen for the quotes. Mark the recording time when the quote was made. Photo courtesy of
  • But ALWAYS TAKE NOTES! Even if you’re recording the interviewee, you must take notes. You will remember the conversation better and also know where particular points were made in the conversation.
  • Annotate your notes. Star direct quotes that will be useful. Note the recording time.
  • Begin with a softball. Begin the interview with a softball question that you may not care too much about. This will relax the interviewee and yourself.
  • Keep it conversational. Don’t ask one question after another with no casual feedback and discussion. You want to have a give-and-take, turn-taking conversation, rather than a firing-squad style conversation.
  • Listen. Really listen to your interviewee talking as you take notes. Think about if you have any follow-up questions about their statements. If you don’t, then move on to the next prepared question.
  • Prepare a basic outline of questions, but avoid reading them word-for-word. Again, you want to know your questions enough to ask them in a casual way to your interviewee. And you want to ask them when it’s appropriate to in the conversation.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. You want to understand the interviewee and the story well. You want to clarify things so you can clearly explain things to your audience.
  • Ask the “do you have anything else to add before we finish” question. You never know what helpful information will come out!
Allow silence when interviewing. Silence is awkward. People fill silence with more talking. Photo courtesy of
  • Allow silence. Silence is awkward. People fill silence with additional banter. It may be helpful banter for your story.
  • Make eye contact, smile, and nod to show your interest. Try not to make the “uh huh” and “go on” noises. This is a bad habit and will ruin audio interviews if you engage in those behaviors.
  • Also during the interview…Watch, look, and listen to the environment around you –> Reporters and storytellers are excellent observers and listeners. They are socially aware.

💡Talk to a neighbor about your best or most awkward interviewing experience:

  • Use this list as a checklist to give feedback to your peer. Check the things that you think are most relevant for improving and/or guaranteeing a quality interview.
  • I will send both you and your partner a copy of your answers. You will be able to see others’ responses after submission.

More Advice on Interviewing…

How journalists can become better interviewers
12 basics of interviewing, listening and note-taking
BBC Academy: Interviewing Dos and Don’ts

🎙️In-Class Assignment: Practice Interviewing Classmates

Imagine that you need to write a short news story about how UW students pick their major.

  • You will be assigned to interview a peer in Multimedia Production about how they picked their major. You plan to include a few quotes and information from this interview in your final story.
  • Come up with at least 4 questions that involve this specific angle. Start whenever both you are ready.
  • Interview them for at least 5-10 minutes. Take notes! Collect at least two direct quotes.

💡After the interview, talk to your partner about how the interview went:

  1. What can improve?
  2. Was the interviewer too quick or too slow with the questions?
  3. Were the questions vague or confusing?
  4. Did the interviewer engage in pre-interview small talk?
  5. Did the interviewer allow silence after the interviewee talked?
  6. Did the interviewer ask appropriate follow-up questions?
  7. Did the interviewer ask, “do you have any additional thoughts or information that you’d like to add?”
  8. Share interviewer notes.
  9. How can the interviewer’s note-taking skills improve?
  10. Are the notes and direct quotes accurate?
  11. Review the above interviewing tips. Are there any tips that the interviewer can improve upon?
  12. Did the questions generate enough information to write a few paragraphs?
  13. Together, decide one thing that both of you would like to share with us about your interviewing practice.


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