The journalist is in charge of the interview and has to respect constraints.
He must :
- Tell the interviewee the rules :
– The time limit: the amount of time there is (for editing and broadcasting).
– The setting : live interview or edited interview.
– Where it will be broadcast : newscast, show…
- Getting the interviewee to give his best :
– The interviewee knows all about interviews. Therefore he’s spouting a formulaic script he’s memorized. The journalist must contradict him with precise and undeniable information that he’s prepared before the interview.
– The interviewee is shy, or in shock. The journalist starts the interview with easy, closed, familiar questions: age, address, name, and if possible uses the same words as the interviewee. The journalist must help the interviewee, but never give out the answers in his place.
- Don’t put the answer in the question :
The question is related to one topic, the interviewee’s answer completes it. If the journalist answers his one question, what else is there for the interviewee to say ?
- Rewording the answer for the viewer :
Rewording an answer helps define the next question. It’s used as a transition, and helps with overly long or technical answers. The journalist gives clear info to the viewers, who must never get lost during the interview.
- Framing the questions :
Framing is an affirmative sentence that goes before a question. It gives information that make the question more precise and help get an answer loaded with exclusive information.
For example, here’s an interview of Bill Clinton by newspaper Le Monde :
J : “You’re only 54, you can do anything you want, you have the most experience and contacts a man can have, you’re leaving the Oval Office. What are you going to do now?”
- Using a keyword at the end of your question :
The interviewee is ready to answer as soon as he hears the keyword that sums up the question.
What the journalist adds next pollutes the question and delays the answer.
- L : “What part did you play (in this operation) ? “
- G : “In this operation, what part did you play ? “
Write the questions as key words.
The journalist writes his questions as keywords, on a small piece of paper or on the plam of his hand, so that they can be seen at a glance. Therefore he avoid paper noises in the mic, watches the interviewee and concentrates on the answers.