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By: Dakota Zanin

Crafting a compelling story is an art. In order to write a story that makes your readers want to know more, the first step is asking the right questions. Are you asking the right interview questions?

According to Chip Scanlan from Poynter, “interviewing is the heart of journalism. Yet too few journalists have ever received education or training in this critical skill.”

Trent Scott, 2020 NEWSPA presenter, Oshkosh West English teacher and The Oshkosh West Index newspaper adviser, notes getting the most out of every interview involves asking the right questions. Scott shares that interviews are the medium for content, and without it, the content can’t reach an audience.

“Interviews are the foundation of journalism,” Scott said. “Without the raw material for the story, you can’t do much of anything – whether it be print, a podcast, a video, or whatever platform is being used.”

Interview Strategies

When you find yourself in an interesting conversation, asking a specific question about a specific topic can help you uncover new details and unique aspects of a story. The same goes for interviewing. As an interviewer, your job is to ask specific and relevant questions to get the information needed to write a compelling story.

At the forefront of an interviewer’s mind, Scott said that it takes a certain fearlessness, and using this will help uncover the truth.

“I’d say the most important attribute of good interviewing is to not be intimidated,” Scott said. “Fight through that to get to the truth, even when it’s awkward. The reader deserves that.”

Learn More

This is the art of getting the most out of every interview, Scott will be digging into the best interview strategies during his NEWSPA conference session on April 22, 2020.To learn more, check out the full NEWSPA conference program.