In How To: Interview, Part 1, I asked Vicki, Lizzie + Josie how they went about interviewing people. They gave advice on the logistics of the interview, building your confidence + personal interview styles.
Here, in Part 2, Bridget Hamilton answers the same questions.
How do I find interesting people and get in contact with them?
Social media is your best friend! Search for interesting people on Twitter or Instagram, or put a message out on Facebook. Sometimes the hashtag #journorequest gets a good response.
What if they live far away?
Don’t worry about that at all – email is a brilliant tool and I’m sure some of the best interviews have been done by just sending over a set of questions. You could always try Skype or even Facebook chat if you wanted to try a more conversational approach.
How do I record what they are saying?
I invested in what’s called a ‘Zoom Mic’ when I started my Radio degree. It was only £80 and it is one of my most faithful tools! Saying that, I don’t have an iphone but I know lots of people who collect audio for the BBC using a decent recording app, so it’s totally possible to get high quality audio that way too.
What questions should I ask? What do people want to read?
God. If I knew that I would sell it for a serious fee! Whilst it might sound hedonistic and a bit backwards, I think if YOU want to write something, and you do it in a compelling and passionate way, people will want to read it. It’s also obviously a good idea to keep your ear to the ground for any breaking news or developing issues relating to the kind of things you’re into, so as an example I follow lots of other feminist blogs and websites on Twitter and so on. Keep a notepad by your bed, or toilet, or handbag, and write down absolutely any ideas you have. You never know when they might develop into a story.
What if I sound stupid in the interview?
Unless you literally call them John instead of Jim or make a ridiculous comment, I don’t think it’s possible. If you don’t know something about them, just ask it in a question.
And when I type it up, how should I edit it? Is it more important that I leave their words untouched or that it reads well?
This very much depends on what you normally put on your blog or just personal preference, to be honest. I think people expect a certain level of tidying up after you’ve interviewed them, but if you’ve changed something considerably and you’re worried about it, I would always just go back and check with the person. I’m 100% sure they won’t mind, and will actually be grateful you asked for their input.
Bridget runs verbalremedy.co.uk