Journalism 101 for Bloggers: Lesson Two, The Interview

Whether you are riding elephants or conducting interviews,
facing your fears will open a whole new world of fun!
(Actually, this is my daughter and her husband riding elephants in
Chaing Mai, Thailand)

 “Advice to young writers who want to get ahead without annoying delays: don’t write about man, write about A man.”                –Ernest Hemingway

Welcome to Lesson Two, students!! Just to remind you…this is Journalism 101 training for bloggers to sharpen your skills for product reviews, and interviews with designers and retailers. Lesson One focused on the characteristics of a good reporter and today, we will look over what makes for a great interview. There is a page to your right with all of the guidelines for good interviewing. When you combine these two lessons, then you are ready to venture out and give it a try! Of all the things my high school students fear, interviewing is at the top of the list! But, for some of you, once you face these fears, you will love it and have a need for more!!

You never know who you might end up talking to!!!

Let’s begin….Repeat after me: EVERYONE HAS A STORY! I do not care who they are…there is no insignificant life. In order to think like a journalist, your job in an interview, is to find the story unique to that individual life.

Of course, you are looking for their story which applies the most to your audience and the reason for your interview.

Try to conduct your interview in a relaxed atmosphere where you can sit down and have a conversation. Ask open ended questions….no questions which are just answered with YES or NO.

Say you want to write about a new consignment shop in your town. You want to know what makes this consignment shop different from all of the others….why did the owner decide to open the shop…what is it in the owner’s past that lead to this desire to open this shop…what is their unique point of view. What is special about this shop…the audience they will target…the location…the types of things they will consign and not consign. What is their opinion on customer service and how will they serve better than others? Does the current state of the economy have anything to do with their decision to open a shop?  Where did they get the inspiration for this shop?
This is the post which resulted in other bloggers asking for INTERVIEW TIPS!
We do have the ability to make a huge difference!

Remember this tip from the page on the right:  You must be informed before an interview…there is nothing more annoying than a reporter who does not know anything about their topic. Ignorance will cut your interview short …not in a good way!

All pictures provided by my daughter!!

Now…go out there and find some amazing stories for your readers…they will love it!


  1. Oh Pam! Great tips! Every life DOES have a story and at this moment, I can't think of a boring person I've ever met. When prodded, most of us don't mind sharing ourselves with someone who is genuinely interested. Hugs to you and thanks for doing this series! ~Serene

  2. Love the photo of your daughter on the elephant… what an adventure she
    had!! Great advice about asking open ended questions and knowing about your subject! xo

  3. Such good advise, my dear Pam.
    I am always so ready to learn from you.
    Just in case you didn´t know, LOl, your daughter is BEAUTIFUL, and so are you.

  4. Oh even after being in journalism for years there is nothing worse than interviewing someone and getting those awful 4 word sentences and knowing after the second question that, oh oh it's going to be one of those interviews!

  5. Your daughter is so lovely and the pictures are *amazing*. What a wonderful time she must have had there! Great tips about interviewing, Pam. I've read some interviews (often in big mainstream media) that gave the impression the "journalist" knew absolutely nothing about the subject and it was very annoying.

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  7. Love the pics from your daughter! We actually do practice interviews in my English 102 class. I let students practice on quiet interviewees and also on ones that they can't get to shut up. There's definitely an art to interviewing different personalities.

  8. I love this post so much. I had the most wonderful journalism advisor in high school, and she's the reason why I went into communications. Everyone does have a story, and most everyone wants their stories to be told! Thank you for doing what you do – I hope you know from a former journalism student how much your students appreciate you!

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