Have You Ever Wondered How Successful Journalists Carry out Their Interviews?


Whether you are a journalist or you aspire to become one, this is a must read for you.

The art of carrying out a successful interview is not easy, even successful journalists of our time can attest to the fact.

A good interview is dependent on the interviewee’s total cooperation and participation. Some people know exactly what they want to say while others love to make you sweat for a basic quote. How journalists conduct interviews is based on the outcome more than any other thing.

What is odd is that; so much emphasis is put on teaching journalists on how to write an article, a useless skill when not taught how to develop strong interview technique which is a commendable combination when it comes to journalism as a career.

What then are the techniques used by successful journalists for effective interviews?

Are you about to carry out your first interview and you are afraid that it will not be as successful as the ones carried out by successful journalists? Well, they also started somewhere before becoming successful. This does not mean that you can’t conduct an inspiring interview.

Below are the proven techniques used by successful journalists for effective interviews

  • Always write down your questions

Successful journalists are always sure and they bring prepared questions with them, even twice as many questions they expect to ask. This technique comes with the security of knowing that a journalist will not get stuck thus improving their confidence. With this technique, one never knows what question will get the information they are really looking for, just like a fishing expedition.

  • Working on their flow

This is the troublesome but also the most important technique successful journalists have developed over the years. The technique strikes a balance between a conversation with the interviewee and getting the job done. With this technique, when the interviewee is answering a question, a journalist should be thinking about what to ask next and why. The flow of questions should be natural and should not take the interviewee completely out of topic because that is the next question in the list if you have any. As you strive to get your work done, you should also make your interviewee feel comfortable so that they can trust you and give out more information.

  • Preparing their goals before their interviews

Successful journalists always know the questions they are going to ask and the reason for asking them. This can be achieved by carrying out a prior research on the topic for discussion or on the interviewee. This helps the journalist to have a sense of what they what to get out of the interview, a technique that is critical to carrying out a successful interview.

  • Finding a good location

Apart from carrying out interviews outside the Television studios, successful journalists are very keen on choosing the right locations for conducting their interviews. The techniques used include;

  1. Finding a place that has some relevance to the story or the interviewee, this makes interviewees feel more comfortable by gaining a sense of context. In case of politicians, they like the ‘my territory’ feeling.
  2. Meeting at the interviewee’s house or place of work. This makes the interviewee feel comfortable in a place they are used to at the same time play the role of a ‘nice host’.
  3. Meeting at the interviewee’s favourite location like a restaurant or location of an incident relevant to the story. This technique gets the interviewee interested, thus cooperation
  • Successful journalists avoid obsession

It is evident that taking notes and recording are important during interviews. However, the obsession of using these skills is not working to the favour of becoming a successful journalist. A good journalist yearning for a successful interview should focus on the quotes and information they are going to use. If you intend to record every single detail, it is advisable to have a second person do it for you so as not to interfere with the interview process.

  • Technique of being a little annoying

For successful journalists, they are never afraid of revisiting a question or topic that they feel has not been properly addressed by the interviewee. This technique is necessary at times as it work to the favour of those who need time to warm up to the interviewer or the topic. Interviewee’s response gets better when a question is recorded differently!

  • Being little sneaky

Smart journalists continue taking notes even when the interview is over. This is important because some interviewees can reveal important information when they feel they are out of the ‘interview seat.’

  • Empowering the interviewee

Successful journalists use this technique in their interviews because it gives their interviewees some sense of control over the topic thus releasing important information. Successful journalist accomplish this by asking their interviewees about their point of view or their opinion on a certain situation. This makes the interviewee feel trusted to give certain information.

  • Working up the interviewee

For a successful interview, journalists use this technique so as to get a strong and emotional quote about the topic. However, this should be done with absolute moderation or caution as some interviewees can get worked up and walk out on an interview.

  • Asking for what is needed

For one to conduct a successful interview, they should be able to ask for what they need. This requires being hard or tough on your interviewee at the same time being friendly with them. Sometimes interviewees can be frustrating especially when they don’t understand what you need from them. That is why it is important to let your interviewee know what exactly you need from them from the beginning.


The list of techniques for effective interviews is inexhaustible. However, listed are proven tips used by successful journalist.

Everything starts by a step and your journey to a successful interviewer starts with several errors, frustrated audience and a demoralized journalist.

That is why we guide you through your journey by giving you the best experience and skills that will make you a successful journalist who carries out successful and inspiring interviews as well as an envy of many in the same field. Call us today.

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