Improve Your Interviewing Skills for Podcasts, Blogs, Journalism, and Academic Research | Duncan Koerber | Skillshare

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Improve Your Interviewing Skills for Podcasts, Blogs, Journalism, and Academic Research

teacher avatar Duncan Koerber, University Professor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to the Course!


    • 2.

      Course Overview


    • 3.

      Picking the Right People Makes all the Difference


    • 4.

      Dealing with Nerves


    • 5.

      Who Should You Interview? And Where to Find Them


    • 6.

      Interview Length Matters


    • 7.

      The Best Interview Channel is None at All


    • 8.

      Methods of Recording In Person


    • 9.

      Recording Technology and Software for All Purposes


    • 10.

      The Types of Questions to Elicit the Best Answers


    • 11.

      The Questioner versus The Listener


    • 12.

      Using Quotations Effectively


    • 13.

      Writing Up Interviews


    • 14.

      How to Make it Flow


    • 15.

      Using Interviews to Create an Online Following


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About This Class

Do you need to interview someone but don’t know where to start? Do you want to create great interviews that attract audiences and listeners? Are you a podcaster, blogger, journalist, or academic researcher looking to improve your interviewing skills?

The interview is a staple of podcasting and journalism today, but it's often badly done. Most interviewers are making key mistakes that are limiting the potential of their interviews. In this course, learn to illuminate a new topic, tell someone's amazing story, and stand out from the millions of interview recordings on the Internet – without ever having to go to journalism school. 

Learn those problems – and how to correct them – in this course taught by an experienced journalist and writing professor. 

The course moves logically through the interview process, including these important topics:

  • Preparation to make sure you are respected as a interviewer
  • Which recording methods to use, as the technological medium can affect you and your interviewee;
  • How to reduce the inevitable nerves that come with doing interviews;
  • The importance of using open-ended questions to get people to open up and tell you fascinating stories; and,
  • How to write up your interviews into blog posts and newspaper or magazine articles that are coherent and interesting to read.

The course also explains the importance of using interview recordings to create an online  following of fans, which is vital for marketing a product or service. 

If you're new to interviewing, the course also provides information on microphones and recording software to get started on interviewing people in-person and online. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Duncan Koerber

University Professor


Dr. Duncan Koerber has taught writing and communication courses for the past 16 years at 8 Canadian universities to thousands of students.

Currently a full-time assistant professor at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, Duncan Koerber worked for nearly 10 years in reporting and editing roles for the London Free Press, the Mississauga News, and the University of Toronto Medium. He has freelanced for magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

Oxford University Press recently published his writing textbook, Clear, Precise, Direct: Strategies for Writing (2015). Available on Amazon, the book considers the seven most common errors (interfering factors) in writing and how to improve them (enhancing factors). His second book, Crisis Communicati... See full profile

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1. Welcome to the Course!: do you need to interview someone for an article? Ah, blawg Post or a podcast but don't know where to start? Are your interviews failing? For some reason? Do you want to create great interviews that attract listeners and followers? I'm Duncan Kerber, and I've done hundreds of interviews as a journalist. I also majored and radio broadcast. Many beginning interviewers are making key mistakes that air limiting their interviews potential learn those problems and how to correct them in this course. After taking this course, you'll be able to create chemistry with your interviewees. Ask questions that get them talking, become the listener, not just the question gained better insight into people's lives and right up interviews into appealing block posts or newspaper and magazine articles. Course moves logically through the interview process, including preparation, recording methods, developing chemistry and conversation producing mirrors, best types of questions to ask and writing it all up. We'll also look at the use of interview recordings to create a following online, and we take a quick look at recording technology and software if you're new to this things . Courses useful for beginning podcasters and bloggers and journalists, but intermediate interviewers may gain tips for improvement. Thank you for your interest in my course of how to interview people. Effectively. Try a free preview of the lectures. Joined now, and I'll see you in the course. 2. Course Overview: The interview is an essential form of communication today, particularly in journalism and podcasts. Journalism professor Michael Shenson notes in one of his books that the interview as a journalistic practice Onley dates back to about the 18 sixties. This is in great contrast to today, where on our TVs, someone is always being interviewed. At any given time at sporting events, athletes are being interviewed at political conventions. Politicians and candidates are being interviewed in the typical newspaper, every article other than, let's say, the column, this article's has toe have an interview in it. It has to have, he said. She said. Most of the podcast I listen to they tend to interview somebody, even if it's just to hosts interviewing each other. People interview others for many purposes, not just journalism. So in academia, there's a tendency to do interviews for aural history, and that's getting people who are still alive and the seniors to talk about their lives many, many decades ago. Statisticians will often do interviews in academia with surveys and to get that kind of data, and that gives us a window into the past. But most interviews air trying to either get information or storytelling information is the raw fax. Storytelling is the emotion feeling of lived experience. Some interviews are about getting information for some greater arguments, thesis or idea, and other interviews are just about the person. So we want to illuminate this very interesting character, this really life character and show them to our audience. Let's look at who some of those interesting people, maybe for an interview, a person with a special experience you'd like to know more about. For example, a tattoo artists, a detective, a mountain climber, a person who talks in an interesting way or acts in an interesting way. For example, comedian, a natural storyteller, even a criminal could be someone who observed a very important past event like 9 11 or a hurricane or a sports final game, or someone who holds expertise in social life or politics like a professor, a politician or a crisis care worker or someone with an interesting job like an oil rig worker, a dog walker crane operator, while interviewing famous people is a way to get noticed easily and perhaps make some money if you're selling your interview, a good interview doesn't have to be with a famous person. In 2011 a Columbus Dispatch reporter noticed a homeless man with a sign by the side of a road. The sign brag about this man's great voice. So the reporter decided to stop his car in front of the unkempt and unshaven man and offered money if the man spoke with this great voice that he was advertising. This man was named Ted Williams, and he was a former radio host who had fallen on hard times. If you go to YouTube right now, I'm sure you can find the video of Ted Williams making his speech by the side of the road. So he does his little speech to the driver and the voice is just fantastic. And it's all captured on this man's camera with in his car. The reporter eventually got back to the office, posted this video on YouTube, and it got millions of viewers, and Ted Williams ended up getting on TV talk shows, morning shows and got job offers. That's the power today of the interview, combined with social media with online video. But it also goes to show the power of storytelling and that there are stories all around you just waiting for you to find them 3. Picking the Right People Makes all the Difference: one key to a successful interview. And that means an interesting interview that other people that audiences want to listen to is to pick the right people. You don't necessarily interview the first person you come across. You may have to do a little prep work to ensure that that interview is gonna work out. If you confined the character, an interesting person, an important person, somebody that wants to talk the interview will go well just all by itself. But if you get stuck with someone who just isn't that willing to talk, isn't that interesting? Then it's going to be a struggle. One of the secrets of popular TV and radio is the Preinterview. Most talk shows morning shows, nighttime talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel or Conan O'Brien or Jimmy Fallon. They preinterview this job can be assigned to a producer or an intern or somebody in the back who, the day before calls up that person and ask some questions. And then those questions were passed on to the talent. That's the on air person who's going to do the interview, and they're asking those questions essentially for a second time in many new stock stations , the person doing the interview on the air actually has not just the questions, but also the answers of that person said the day before whenever that pre interview was done. Now a print journalist may not have time for this kind of pre interview. This is tends to be a TV and radio thing, but it can still be worth well for print journalists podcasters anybody else to make a quick phone call and have a chat. You should very short chat to determine the suitability of the guest for the interview. Eat if that preinterview is not successful. So the person maybe can't speak well or just seems disinterested in doing this than they confined someone else before they put that person on the air. So this little bit of prep work could make a huge difference in the success of your interview. 4. Dealing with Nerves: for whatever purpose, interviewing people can be nerve racking. If this is going to be your first time that you're interviewing somebody, you may be nervous, and that's okay. Let me tell you about some of my first interviews. When I was about 18 years old, I worked as a newspaper reporter at a small community newspaper, and I had never interviewed anybody before. Our newsroom was small. There were no dividers between the desks, and I was really scared to even pick up the phone and interview somebody because I was worried about what my colleagues would think about my interviewing style. My editor, the sports editor, had his desk right next to mine, so I would often wait until he went for lunch before I pick up the phone and call somebody to interview him. All right, wait till you into the bathroom. It wasn't just nerves about doing the interviews nerves, about being judged by others about my lack of skills. When I got to university as an undergrad, I joined the campus newspaper. I could now do a phone interview because I had done a lot of those. But then the next hurdle came and that was doing face to face interviews. I did not like doing face to face interviews because I was shy thinking back. I wonder, why did journalism at all? One time I had to do one of those people on the street interviews that involved going into some common area at the school and asking people their opinions on some topic of the day. Well, I had so much trouble going up to people. I think I spent an hour on this when I could have done it quickly. In 10 or 15 minutes, I would look for the really friendly faces and go up to them and ask questions. But I ended up with a nearly 10 year career as a journalist, very successful, and I got over this. How did I do it? Just doom Or and more interviews. The nerves will go away with experience. So put yourself into many different kinds of interview experiences, face to face phone, podcasting and those nerves will drift away as you get more and more experience and the confidence that comes with it. 5. Who Should You Interview? And Where to Find Them: Who should you interview? Well, this is an easy question. I mean, it's whoever you want to, whatever your interests are. You can chase down people to be a part of these interviews. You can interview another blogger. You could interview a marketing professional. Anybody in the field, the urine people are usually totally willing to offer their advice. And come on your podcast, you really just have to ask them. But the hardest part is to ask to pick up that phone and call someone and ask them if they'd like to come on your show because you fear rejection. But if you can get the courage to call people up and say, I want to interview you, that can lead to new possibilities. You're gonna learn about a new topic, and also you just created a personal connection with someone that may pay off in some way down the line. They may introduce you to someone else who is great to interview. And, of course, the person you interview is probably going to send a link to their followers with your podcast with your video recording, and that's going to spread it far and wide. That's one of the benefits of doing, interviewing and podcasting as opposed to just a solo podcast not has bring you into a network of other people's supporters followers. Other people's communities can be helpful to interview people like university professors. The PR people at universities will often have a guide of experts that will talk about just about anything in current events and politics, sports, whatever it is you want to talk about, there's probably an expert at a university. They're very happy to talk to you, Mr. Be an easy, friendly target. For your first batch of interviews, you can also interview other podcasters. That's another way to get some conversation going between you and someone else and other podcasters air used to the medium. So they're gonna be very good conversationalists for you. Also, you can talk to your friends on Facebook, see who's doing what. Maybe you'd like to interview one of your friends who is an expert on some area that you're interested. Check out the people in your neighborhood and your local stores. Maybe they haven't expertise. The people on the Internet would like to know more about. There are people and stories everywhere. First, you need to sit down and brainstorm what do your topics of interest and then jot down names of people you know that might be able to talk about those subjects, or maybe somebody on the Internet that you would love to interview. But you have no personal connection to find their contact information and then get going on contacting them to schedule an interview. The podcast that their most successful the ones that have interesting guests that provide some sort of benefit to the audience, something people can learn and use. And the best podcasts are regular, and that's often the challenges just keeping it up week after week, on and on so you can develop that audience that comes through regularity. If you only put out a paw gas once every three or four months, you're never going to develop the momentum you need to create that. Following 6. Interview Length Matters: How much time should you devote to this interview process? While some professional writers, journalists, academics will follow their interviewees around for months or years, they want to kind of fall into the background behind the person so they don't even realize they're there. This is a kind of observational interview, but most of us don't have the time to devote to this long period of interviewing. Most podcast that I've seen have interviews anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. If you're a journalist, the length of the interviews can affect how much content how many quotations you have to use in your articles I found. If you want to write in 100 or 1000 word blawg, post or newspaper article, you need about an hour with someone. An hour is a good time for a number of reasons. Some of your questions and we'll get into questions later in this course will not work, and you may take you 30 minutes 40 minutes to get to some of the questions that will elicit great answers from the person your interview. Now, if you go longer than an hour, the interviewee may get tired. They may get bored. They may be concerned that they have to get off to a meeting or some other event. I found a podcast as a listener that sometimes when it goes longer than 45 minutes, I start to tune out, and that's even on subjects that I'm really interested in. So if you're podcasting, do try to get to your questions quickly. Don't be long winded. Let them talk, but also maybe move the want to new subjects as quickly as you can. Also, remember your abilities is an interviewer will degrade. They will decline as time goes on. So you want to remain fresh. If you haven't got through all your questions, you can always stop and say, you know, can we get back to this tomorrow? Can I call you back tomorrow when we meet up tomorrow and finish off that interview? 7. The Best Interview Channel is None at All: the technological medium that you used to do. The interview is going to affect the nature of that interview. Having done hundreds and hundreds of interviews, I believe the best medium is no medium, so that is to do face to face interviews. If you've got some experience, face to face is the best way to develop rapport. So that's a chemistry with your interview subject. If you're gonna be writing this up into a blawg post or an article, you can also note the details of the person's expression, their gestures, the details of the location that you're meeting up that and I find people open up much more in person. When they can see you, they trust you. But of course, we can't meet all the people we want to interview face to face. They may be on the other side of the world. So then the options are to use the phone or use something like scape. Skype gives you an approximation of the face to face experience, but of course it's a little bit awkward because you're looking into this camera. The person on the other end of the phone with Skype maybe a bit distracted by something. The worst medium for an interview is by email. There is no report. It's mechanical. You can hear the rial voice of the person you're interviewing. It's a written voice, not a spoken voice, and this can be very unnatural. This is similar to the Twitter interview today, where people will try to get a hold of a celebrity and they'll respond back to them just in through the comforting technology of Twitter. The only time you do an email or Twitter interview is if the person is very famous but very guarded, and the only way they'll talk to you is through those mediums. The same is true. If you're doing interviews to hire somebody, you want to get them in the room and talk to them face to face, because interviewing by technology just doesn't capture the essence of the person. As I mentioned in a previous lesson on nerves, don't use technology as a crutch to get out of seeing that person I toe I. The benefit of the face to face is just so much greater than any other form. Now let me tell you a story. When I was an undergraduate at the campus newspaper. I was interviewing a professor who was a pretty tough nut to crack. I met him in his campus office and we were chatting for good 30 minutes without him giving me much injury. Short answers, just yeses and noes. But then I asked him one question about something on his desk, some memorabilia that he had, and suddenly his eyes opened up and he wanted to talk about that. And then he felt some reporting chemistry with me, and the interview just went off and we talked for another hour and got some great answers to my remaining questions and that only could have happened by seeing him in his office. 8. Methods of Recording In Person: If you're doing written articles blawg Post newspaper articles, the way you record the interview can also affect the nature of it. This technology includes the pan, the paper, the recording device. Find what works best for you but recognize that each one has its strength and weaknesses. When recording the interview. Using a pen and paper, you can sometimes forget to look up your so intently focused on your pad that you have no rapport with the person. You may be trying to scribble down every single word that person is saying, and this can get you flustered and think about it from the other side of the equation. The person you're interviewing feels like you're not connecting with them. You're not looking at them. Some journalists, some interviewers, well, often write down on Lee the key words or phrases that the person is saying and they'll feel in the buses and the butts in the ANZ later on. Some interviews prefer to use a recording device, so an iPhone with a special recording app or maybe just a digital recording device, specifically four interviews. Now it's still take some notes down, but they're not a slave to the pen and paper. This frees up the eyes to move up and look at the interview subject, and they could always go back and get that recording and fill out those notes later. If you Onley depend upon the recording devices, you don't use any notes, and a lot of people do that. The problem can be transcription. Transcription takes a long time, so if you've got a few notes, those could be pointers, and then you just use the recording to go back and find those specific quotations of fill them out. Just be careful of recording devices. Some people are scared of them, and some people get very angry when they find out you've been recording them. This is an irrational fear because, of course, what's the difference between me writing it down with a pen or recording it? But you never know. There's some people that will end in interviews I have found when they find out you've got a recorder there in your hand. Most laws allow you to make recordings of any conversations that you are a party to, and also you're identifying yourself at the start of the interview that you're working for a newspaper or you're doing a block post and this will be posted. So that's enough notification. You don't need to say. May I please record you for this? But do check your local laws to be sure. 9. Recording Technology and Software for All Purposes: this course has been about the skills required to do great interviewing for a wide range of purposes. But I didn't want to talk about some software and technology to do podcast recordings. Some of this software may actually be useful on your iPhone or other phone for recording in person interviews. Other things might be useful for when you were recording video of a chat you're having over the Internet. First of all, it's so important to have a really good microphone if you're going to be re transmitting this for people to listen to, not simply using it for your own notes. The microphone I use is the i rig HT. I've used this on this course and on all the other courses I've created on you. To me and other sites, the quality of the sound is very good. I did have to, additionally, by a stand toe, hold it up and a windscreen so that the air from my mouth doesn't hit the microphone and cause a popping noise. But I've heard from people who do online courses that anything by the company Blue, which makes this blue yeti microphone, is high quality. It stands up by itself on your desk a bill. You may still need a windscreen attached to it. If you don't have a good quality microphone, nobody will want to listen to you. You don't want to annoy the listener with poor sound, so invest in a good microphone. I know it's tempting to use the microphone built into your computer, but these were not high quality thes air not useful for anything beyond just doing. Ah, Skype. Call with somebody. These do not produce professional quality sound. After you've got the microphone, you're going to need some software. The softer takes in the signal records it, and often they allow you to modify it a little bit. If you want to change things, some software can allow you to chop out parts. If you don't want your listeners to hear that, if you're just recording an interview for notes and you're not publishing it to the Web, I suggest a piece of software on iTunes called H T recorder, sometimes called HT professional recorder. It's very easy to use its integrated with Dropbox, and it also brings the levels up to a reasonable volume. So if at one point your interviewee starts talking very quietly, it will bring those levels up to a level that you can hear. You can also record into a free piece of software called audacity. It's a multi track recording piece of software that I've used for many years, and it allows you to see the actual wave form of your sound, for example, with my microphone. Sometimes I like to increase the base, the lower end of my voice, and I could just apply that effect to the whole podcast. I can also chop out parts of the wave form. For example, if I say uh uh more, I screw up at some point, I can just remove it. The only problem with audacity is it does have a bit of a learning curve, so you may have to use some of the tutorials online if you'd like to do video. Podcasting of logging is it's coughing called you can record things through the online phone software, Skype or for greater manipulation of the final video. You can record that Skype conversation with some sort of screen casting software On My Mac . I've used screen flow, which is very good, and many people recommend on the PC on Windows Camp Task CIA and both allow you to record both screen image and the sound coming out of your computer into a file on later, you can cut off parts of this stream and what not just to make it look a little bit more presentable. These were just a few examples of technology and software that you can use to record your interviews and then produce them and do something with them. 10. The Types of Questions to Elicit the Best Answers: in any interview, trying to create rapport or chemistry with the person you are interviewed. This begins way before the interview. It involves preparing for that interview by researching the person of the topic and coming up with a really unique questions. Interesting questions related to your research. You should be using the interview to find out things you can't find in your research. The person will respect you if you've done your research particularly important people. Celebrities. They like the US questions that not everybody else is asking. There is a great example of failure preparation in an interview by Larry King on CNN. Larry King was a very well known interviewer, but he really wasn't that good at what he did. You may want to pause this course video and go to YouTube and search Larry King interview Jerry Seinfeld. In that video, Larry shows that he doesn't know how many seasons Seinfeld ran on TV, and he thinks that Seinfeld the show was canceled. You'll see in the video that Jerry makes a lot of fun of Larry's ignorance, and these two are friends, So there's a they're playing with each other here. This is a comedian making fun of Larry. But I think deep down inside there is some concern there by Jerry Seinfeld about the lack of preparation. It's entirely possible that if you ask ignorant questions, the person will just end the interview right there and then you have nothing. Just be prepared as much as you can to ask interesting and useful questions. Now let's turn to some interview question types that allow the interviewee to speak his or her mind. Those questions are open ended Questions thes allow the person to speak freely to elaborate , to tell the stories they want to tell. On the other hand, you have what are called closed questions. These questions will elicit just fax data or yes and no answers. So if all you have is closed questions, then you are not gonna have much flow in the interview because the person can just say yes or no. And then they look to you for the next question. We'll get into what that means in a second, but back to preparation. When you finish coming up with all your questions, try to order them, put them in an order that is logical. The first few questions for example, might be general questions on your topic. That you're getting it that can work is a nice warm up for this interview, and then you can move into more specific things. Some journalists who are dealing with sensitive topics like to keep the very, very difficult questions to the end of the order, because it's possible if you give the tough question right off the bat, the person may end the interview right then and there. You also don't want a jerk around from topic to topic. There's a tendency among inexperienced interviewers to jump from topic to topic very quickly, and you don't want these herky jerky changes of the subject as you go along you wouldn't they smooth transition. Some closed questions include things like, When did you start the company who was involved in the project at the beginning? Do you feel the industry is growing? As you can see, the person could answer these questions with just some fax or yes or no, that doesn't create much flow. And also, perhaps, if you had done more research about the person, you could have found out that information through articles on the Web and instead devoted your time during the interview, your very important time to getting things that you cannot find elsewhere. So what are some open ended questions? Questions that will allow the person to just talk and talk, which is what you want? What do you remember about the moment you opened the company's doors for the first time? Tell me about that challenge you faced in the organization in 2015. What's the process you go through when deciding on whether to develop a new product? These open ended questions can't be answered No or yes or just some basic facts. The person has to start talking. The open ended approach also allows the person to go on and on in whatever direction they want to take it, so they feel like they are leading the way. And that's a good feeling to allow in the person that you're interviewing. Not just that you are the dictator of this interview. So how many questions should you have in your list? The great writer William Zinsser has written a number of instructional books, mentions having enough questions that you don't run out. Another great writer of creative nonfiction, Philip Gerard, suggests Onley of having a brief list of questions. Personally, I tend to side with Zinser. I like to have tons of questions, and I may not even get through them all, and I don't expect to. But you never want to run out. And you want to explore everything, if you possibly can. Another tip I learned early on about interviewing that really worked well was to choose questions about vivid moments. People's memories could be poor, so if you're asking them questions about dated a things day to day life, they may not remember it. But if you ask him a question about a vivid moment, a key moment in their life, they will remember that because it's seared into their memories. Emotional moments are permanent memories more likely to be permanent memories than just typical things day to day things. So use your open ended questions to get to those vivid moments, and memories will come flowing out of the mouth of the person you're talking to. If someone would ask me, Duncan, tell me about your experience on September 11th the day of the terrorist attacks in New York City. Well, that was an emotional day for me, even though I was not in New York City, I can remember the morning of I got up early. For some reason, I was an undergraduate student who love to sleep in. But I got up early that day for some strange reason. The first thing I did every day was I would log onto my computer, go into MSN Messenger, see who's online, and they be chat with somebody. And right after I logged in, I think this was about 8 38 45 1 of my friends, Robert, actually sent me a message and says, Turn on the TV. So I turned on the TV in my room and there was a CNN report on CNN Host were showing that there had been some sort of a small plane crash into one of the buildings of New York City , and I remember vividly as they were showing a live shot. I swear I saw another airplane fly by and cause an explosion in another building, and it didn't take long for those journalists to realize that something was going wrong. It wasn't just a mistake by the first pilot that there was a bigger events going on And then I remember there was another plane crash not in New York City, but outside near Washington, D. C. And I had this feeling of dread. What is going on? You know what is going on to the world right now, and I think those memories will stick with me my whole life. So this just shows that you need to ask people about those moments and you'll be able to excavate those memories from their minds. 11. The Questioner versus The Listener: many beginning interviewers think their job is to ask questions. That's the job of what I call the questioner. I have to see this in TV news with an experienced journalist who go on the street. They asked a question. The person says something fascinating. What does the interviewer do? They just ask another question. And then they ask another question in another question. Really, You need to think of yourself as the listener. The listener does ask questions, of course, but the listener is much more focused on the person's answers. This is a subtle difference of very important to having success as an interview. The best interviews on podcast, radio or television are those where the interviewer listened intently to everything the person said. Now I know what you're thinking. Of course I listen. I have two years. This is obvious, But actually, most people in conversations are not truly listening. Instead, they're thinking about what they want to say or the context. If it's an unusual situation, maybe they're nervous, and that's causing their years to close down. Maybe they're looking at their question list and getting that X question ready. The moment the person stops talking in unusual situations like these interviews, people often focus so much on their own feelings, their own questions, their own comments rather than opening up their ears. You can almost become a podcast thing or journalistic robot just serving questions, and that's it. But to really focus on their words, you can't worry about what you're going to say. Next, you have to focus on their voice, their words just listen Onley when they stopped talking, Should you turn to your next question, our brains will work quickly enough to figure out what to say next to figure what question to ask next. And if there's a little dead air there, that's perfectly fine. Sometimes people will fill that dead air with even more to say. In an earlier lesson, I talked about the importance of open ended questions. This really intensive listening can also help you come up with some improvised follow up questions. Improvised follow up questions are respectful. They show that you're listening to what the person said, and also they can get that person to same or on what they were talking about. Here's a sample question. Answer and then follow up. Question Exchange to show how you can extract that information from the interviewee. Question. Tell me about what happened that day when the army came to your town. Well, we heard the tanks rolling in, and we ran into the barn to hide. Follow up. Question. What did the tank sound like? Answer. They sounded like the heaviest thunder you'd ever hear. Follow up. Question. Did you catch a glimpse of the soldiers? Yes. Follow up. Question. What did they look like? They look skinny but mean popping out of the tops of those tanks wearing their dirt covered overalls. That little exchange shows how you can keep drawing out information with more and more follow up questions and eventually get a fulsome response in a block post or a newspaper article. You could use these details, weave them together into a narrative or directly quote the person or paraphrase. If you don't listen to what they're saying, you can often miss opportunities. So the person has put something out there and you're not responding to it. I don't want to pick on Larry King again, as I did in a previous lesson, but there's a great interview for our purposes, for our learning purposes on YouTube. So you may want to pause this course video and go to YouTube and type in Larry King interview Lady Gaga on YouTube. The interview sometimes comes up in multiple videos, so you may want to see Part one, Part two, Part three and so on. So what's wrong with Larry King? While he's not listening to what Lady Gaga says, you'll see that he's asking prepared questions, probably questions prepared by his staff. Lady Gaga likes Larry, so Lady Gaga is actually saying very provocative things to him a couple of times. During that interview, Lady Gaga talks about death and maybe dying on stage some day. And what does Larry do? He just moves on and asked a question on a different topic. He doesn't respond in any way to her answers. He just moves on to the next question in a very mechanical interviewing style. And because he's not a listener, he doesn't create a conversation. The best interviews are a conversation, not a formal question answer session. The roles of the interviewer and the interviewee E should blur a little bit off while you're still in control, and you're letting them talk. If you can create the report of a conversation. The interview A. May open up and say things he or she wouldn't say otherwise. A good example of this conversation during an interview is the work of Charlie Rose, whose work for PBS and other channels in the United States. You may want to pause this video and go to YouTube Searched Charlie Rose interview Jon Stewart or Charlie Rose interview Jay Z in these two interviews. In particular, Charlie is really good at listening to what these people say, prompting the person in certain ways, every subtle ways but letting these interviewees talk. He also shows respect through his preparation. He knows something about what these two men are about. This is masterful interviewing, and we can all learn from this. Just remember a little warning from Philip Gerard. It's a human encounter, and however carefully you planet, the event will take on a life of its own. 12. Using Quotations Effectively: Now that you've done the interview, you've got a page full of notes or more. Maybe you've got a recording device with the interview on it, and you've transcribed that you'll want to pick up the best quotations at this point. One problem you'll face is that your quotes won't necessarily be perfectly written. Grammatical people don't speak perfectly. Could you change the quote in any way? Some journalists say they never change a quotation in any way. What you see on the page or the screen is exactly what the person said. And of course, the interviewee will appreciate that you got it right. You've captured the voice of the person just the way the person speaks. Now William Zinsser has written many instructional manuals on writing, says that sometimes this adherence to the exact quotation can be almost too true. This means maybe the quote doesn't make sense, or there's a grammatical error that might be embarrassing to the person. So he says it's okay to correct small ears to smooth out a quote, correct the grammar issue that might be embarrassing. Lee got Kin, The godfather of creative nonfiction says you can clean up quotations to make the more readable or understandable. But you can't fabricate for the sake of clarity, he says. Just be careful with how you handle people's quotations, because some journalists are often caught faking quotations. Jayson Blair was a famous New York Times journalists who faked almost everything for the sake of style, and he lost his whole career from this faking. If the quotation didn't come out right or you wish it could be better, there are alternatives. You could just find a better quote. You could talk to the person again and ask exactly the same question. They'll probably say it better the second time, or you could paraphrase what they said. But be careful that you accurately capture the meaning If you are directly quoting anyone in your block. Post your news article on Lee. Use the best quotations. What's a good quote? Good quotes or unique, informative Well said Anything that's not that well said but is useful may be used in paraphrases and don't force a really good quote into your writing. Just because it's good, it has to fit some overall theme or argument point. If the quotations reveal a fantastic character in a person, then you're probably going to emphasize the person in the article, the person becomes the star of this story. If the person spoke in long, detailed narratives, then you'll emphasize one good story from those narratives. Not all of the narratives. If the person's quotations reveal mostly just data or information or opinions, then that's going to change. What you write to. You can't really focus on the individual or their stories because they haven't given you that or they haven't had a unique character. So you're gonna have to use that data or information or opinions for some article on a greater social or political topic. And, of course, the number of people you interview will affect the structure of your article and the purpose of it. 13. Writing Up Interviews: So you've done the interview. You've looked over your notes or listen to the recording and done a transcription, and you pulled out some of the best quotes. You've an idea what you want to do with this article. Now you need to think about the structure of the Blawg Post a newspaper article. How are you gonna put things in order? What's the approach you're going to take with us? An interview based article could be put together in any number of ways, but there are three main forms of structures. There's the monologue, informal and formal. Essentially, the structural differences between these three types boiled down to the presence or absence of you in the piece. Do you want to be in the article or do you want to recede into the background? Let's look at these three structures in turn, and I'll explain Maura about what I mean monologue structure. This is perhaps the most difficult to put together. The monologue shows the character by letting people speak extensively directly to the reader. There's no mediation. There's no context. The writer is gone. Let's say you did the interview and your interview. He talked and talked and talked. The person was a natural storyteller and told you some great detailed stories. And maybe you ran some follow up questions to elicit a little bit more detail. This is perfect content for a monologue structure. All the words in the article will simply be the words of the interviewee. The reader than experiences the interview as if she or he had sat there and just listened to the person talk. The interviewer disappears. It sounds easy, but really it isn't because you cannot simply put every single word, the person said over the our interview. You still have to be an editor and decide what you're going to include. What you're not going to include. You can create the sense of the person, said one single story throughout the whole interview by simply removing extraneous parts. Some writers find this contentious because you are removing things from what the person said and you condensing it. Maybe you're bringing things together that maybe weren't there in the original spoken word transcription. And that may be a little too much for some people. They may not find it objective. You can't really use a monologue structure unless the interview he speaks in story so they don't speak in story. If they speak in information, then you just can't do this. It would be pretty boring to read 1000 words of information. If the interview subject rambles and they're all over the place, maybe you just can't massage it into shape. That makes sense. One problem with the monologue also is you lose contextual details or details of location of the appearance of the person, because normally that would come in the author's words, which are removed from this monologue style. So that's monologue. What about the informal structure and the informal structure? The writer becomes a character in the article. The writer might use a phrase like, I sit here in Starbucks with the richest man in the world and nobody realizes who he is. So there's nothing wrong with using I in this. I've seen this a lot in celebrity magazine articles where they want to show where they are . The location they're just hanging out with this celebrity informal structure can come in the traditional newspaper article form. Or it can also be in that kind of question answer structure. You see that a lot in music magazines and celebrity magazines. Or you have the question of the journalist asked, right there in the article and then the answer below it. In this question answer form. You don't necessarily have to include every unit of question and answer from your notes. Sometimes it's best to remove the units that don't fit the overall theme of the article. Whichever way you go, the writer becomes another voice in the article, and the writer provides details or maybe missing from the monologue structure so that it includes details of location, people's appearances and so on. Finally, there's the formal structure. You know this from the newspaper. The traditional newspaper article person being interviewed is just one of often many people quoted in the article and the articles purposes, usually not to exemplify that one person, but to talk about a social or political issue some greater topic. The journalist doesn't even show up in the article because objectivity in journalism says no, the author writes in the third person and tries to keep his or her opinions out of it. The multiple voices from multiple interviews speak to those larger issues. Of course, this style lacks personality. The author has to stay out of it. But no one person is the focused. Only the monologue is also this kind of structure puts the key point basically gives away the whole key point of the article. In the first sentence. Journalists call this the lead spell the L E D E, and like an inverted pyramid, as it's called, the information of the bottom is the least important. These three structures very simply map out the possibilities for organizing the structure of an interview based blawg post or newspaper article. You can mix and match these structures, so, for example, you could have an informal style. So we're year in the article but also includes some extended monologue where your interviewee talks and talks and talks. 14. How to Make it Flow: no matter which structure you choose for writing up your interview, it has toe have coherence. That just means as the logical orderly and has to have a consistent relationship between all the paragraphs. Earlier in this course, I talked about a Larry King interview with Lady Gaga. There was all over the place. His questions lacked coherence. He was asking so many different topics and went all over the place. A journalism professor named Catherine My Kircher says one of the most common writing flaws encountered by all editors. His lack of order disjointed writing that starts on one theme, disappears down a side track, takes a second turn and leaves the reader hopelessly lost. And remember, your interview article may seem coherent in your mind, but not in the reader's mind. One way to develop coherence is to have an organizing theme. Can you say in one sentence what you're blogging post or what your article is about? You could say something like my interview based article is about the police chief's experience with the Great Fire of 1984. With that in mind, you know what to include and what to exclude now if he talks about taking his grandmother recently to the local baseball game. Well, that doesn't matter to the story of the fire. Makar Chur talks about a good article as having its own spinal column each sentence, each paragraph, each quotation. Every idea is Onley included in the article to serve the greater theme. The purpose that's the spine and spines have no unnecessary bones, but all the bones served a greater purpose, holding you up without that spinal coherence. In your interview based article, you just have a jumble of random parts, and the reader will feel confused and tossed above it amongst different topics and ideas. So how do you improve coherence in your interview based article? I've already mentioned you focus on the theme you select quotes as well and your own writing your own words that seem to naturally fit that theme and fit together. You can also use transitional sentences at the start of paragraphs asthma, Kircher says, thes air, little bridging sentences linking sentences or summary sentences that carry the reader from section to section, pointing the way forward. You just have to make sure the sentences don't create any awkward Segways or forced transitions that don't work. That strong drive forward in an interview piece is the hallmark of a great article to ensure coherence. Also, make sure you don't force quotations into the article. Sometimes you have to leave out great material from the interview, for example, of fantastic quotation because it doesn't fit with spine of the article but don't feel bad . Sometimes those leftovers those excess quotations from your interview can be used as a spark for another article. Indeed, many productive writers will get to three block posts or news articles out of one interview . It may take you a while to find coherence. You may have to rewrite or redraft the peace if you find a hole in the article in the narrative with logic, perhaps you can go and re interview the person just for a short few minutes and fill in those gaps 15. Using Interviews to Create an Online Following: interviewing is not just useful to get information or create some sort of product, whether that's a recording or a written article, it's also very useful in marketing, developing a brand and most importantly, developing a following. So many people make money online by developing that following, but it doesn't come simply from selling them a product. They may never sell anything directly to these people. It comes from giving away some sort of free product. In this case, Ah, podcast. You give it away, you posted on iTunes. People find it. They start listening to you regularly. Other people find your video interviews and chats on YouTube. If you have a YouTube channel, they start to see you as an expert. Whenever they need to find out something about your topic, they turn to you. This only occurs because you've given away some content. You develop some trust. They've started to get to know you. Even though it's through a computer. They get to know the web of people that you interview every week, and they join essentially a community of listeners. And since the beginning of media, this has always been one of media's effects, and that is the creation of a community Now. In the past, this was created by the gatekeepers, the big media companies. But now you have the opportunity to be that leader within a community you've created. If you have a website length from your podcast or YouTube videos, you can then maybe post some sort of products, whether that's e books, whether it's online courses, whatever it is you are trying to sell. And some of these followers will buy your products and anything else you come up with in the future. All because you develop that community through your interviewing your podcasting and posting these things online. So this is no in significant act. If you can do it right, interviewing could lead to a whole new realm of possibilities.