September 17, 1997 / Coverage / Fall 1997 / Interviewing/Reporting

The hardest part of interviewing

Written by Idea File Staff

DEVELOPING QUESTIONS

No doubt about it, developing questions is the reason most journalists put off interviewing – they cannot think of what to ask. Here are five tips to help your staff get past “question block.”

TIP 1
Work in teams on stories and on questions. People talking about stories come up with good questions.

TIP 2
Read stories that have already been written about your topic and figure out what the reporter had to ask to get the information therein.

TIP 3
Put up posters in your staff room that give ideas for questions to ask; always ask the person you are interviewing about change from previous years; about comparison with other schools, states, places; about effects on or reactions by one sex versus the other; about conflicts faced; about stereotypes; for advice or suggestions; for stories to illustrate points he makes. And, do not forget the 5 W’s and H – who, what, when, where, why, and how.

TIP 4
Ask yourself or your team what the reader will want to know about the person or idea that your story is based upon.

TIP 5
File by topic every set of questions that is written by a staff member and encourage staff members to use the files as they write questions.

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Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.