• 1. There is no such thing as a drab event or a boring person.  Find the interviewhuman element and you’ll have a story. In fact, I’m willing to bet on it. Someplace in every so-called boring story, there is a human element.
  • 2. Get people talking and they will reveal your story line. I had to interview a landscaper and I thought (to myself) ho-hum. But after we talked awhile, I asked her what she’d done before, expecting her to tell me all about her own garden. “Well, I used to be a banker,” she said.
  • 3. Get people to trust you.  Indicate to them you’re not out to make them look bad.  If you can, read the text of your article back to them before you publish.
  • 4. Do your homework.  Know the person’s past. You honor the person if you show up knowing the background. But be ready for surprises.
  • 5. Remember that most people live very quiet lives.  They jump at the chance to be interviewed. Writers often ignore their local papers as a market. Do a few sample interviews, write them up and take them to your local paper. “Interesting People in XXX.” Local papers like stories about local people.
  • 6. We don’t like to phone government officials, nor are we comfortable calling the police for an interview. But remember that officialdom wants to get its point of view across. Call or write and identify yourself as an area writer and you’d like to call on them on such and such a day. Several years ago, I wanted to know more about the island of Adak in the Aleutians. I contacted the US Navy, who had a base there. They sent me videotapes, booklets and subscribed me to the local newspaper. When the base information officer attended a conference in the lower 48, he met me for a solid day of interviewing.
  • And when you ask Ordinary Joe or Ordinary Jane, for an interview, you honor them. You imply that their view is important.



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6 responses to “Interviews

  1. Ed, great advice and encouragement. I am an aspiring writer who is just beginning to get serious about the types of things you describe. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog…it earned you a new follower! I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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