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Interview tips


Always bring a reporter’s notebook and a recorder or phone (with a recorder). Before you begin to record the interview, make sure it is OK with your interviewee. Always take written notes as well. Do not trust that your technology will always work properly. The more accurately you take notes, the better reporter you will be. Reporter’s notebooks.

Note: The UP recommends using Otter ( to transcribe your interviews. Otter is free for a limited number of uploads a month and for interviews under 40 minutes. However, as you get more advanced, you may  find a paid subscription worthwhile.

Talk to more than one person for a story. Find a primary source but also get quotes from other people involved. Multiple perspectives make a stronger story. Sources should be directly related to the story and credible.

Do some basic research before you go to the interview. Make sure you know the basics about the organization, event or subject matter.

Take a camera (or use your phone) when going to do an interview. As a journalist you will need to be well rounded. Plan to take photos and even video to accompany your story.

Write up a list of questions to ask. However, do not be a slave to your prepared questions. When the interviewee starts talking, genuinely make an effort to listen. Be sure to ask follow-up questions based off the answers you receive. The best interviews are ones that are conversational.

Always give yourself at least 45 minutes to an hour for an interview. Avoid scheduling an interview when you have an obligation afterwards.