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.

Idea File Staff

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