The Insider's Guide to Conducting Insightful Interviews

As a journalist, you're often tasked with the job of interviewing a person who has been interviewed many times before. Instead of asking the same old questions, how can you get something new out of your interview subject? Before you start, don't overlook the importance of working with a court reporter in the Bay Area who can transcribe the interview, so you can focus on asking your questions. Use these tips to make your interviews as insightful as possible.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Poor locations make for poor interviews. Stay out of crowded coffee shops or bustling restaurants at lunchtime. Your court reporter won't be able to hear what you're saying, and the distraction of the environment will prevent your interview subject from engaging with your questions. Ideally, go to your subject's home or a place that is significant for them. Alternatively, choose a place off the beaten path that itself can be a conversation starter. Above all else, pick a place that is quiet enough for talking but not so quiet that having a conversation is awkward.

Prep Your Questions

interview prep

Don't make the mistake of thinking that going into an interview without questions planned will make it feel more natural. Having a set of questions mapped out will help you frame your conversation and guide it in the right direction. You can also adapt your questions to follow up on the responses you get, but you should go into an interview with more questions than you will actually need. This also allows you to listen to the answers instead of thinking of your next question when the other person is talking.

Bring Backup

Asking questions, listening to the answers, taking notes, and crafting follow-ups all at once can be overwhelming. Bringing backup in the form of a court reporter to take notes for you will take some of the pressure off and let you focus on getting the answers you need. Continue to jot notes during the interview, but let your court reporter create the transcript you need for the story.