Writing Tip #20

(Remember these?? Me too!)

Or, 5 Things I Learned from my First Interview.

From time to time, my memory drifts to when I was writing for my college’s student newspaper. These few years were my first in experiencing editing, finding stories, crafting reviews and seeing my name printed. My background was in English, not Journalism, and I got a lot of “firsts” from my work on the paper. First paid position. First late-nighters. First time working layouts.

And first interview.

The first person I ever interviewed was an Internet personality who had just brought out a book. Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, so what? Anybody can be famous on the Internet.” But this person was famous for being a jerk. Not my words, here; it’s all over anything this person writes. Did I let this deter me? No. Do I wish I had gone about it a different way? At the point where this person scoffed at my questions and said, “You know, all of this is on my website,” yeah. I kind of wish I had this list.

Do your homework, folks. And you’ll find that these points don’t just apply to interviews, either.

1. If you’re going to write about someone – or talk to them – know everything that anyone could know about them. Read their site. Read their wiki. Watch other interviews.

2. Ask questions no one else has. Make it interesting.

3. Don’t waste your time (or theirs). Ask the questions, get to the point (note: have a point) and be done.

4. Always be polite. Smile through it.

5. Remain flexible at all times. Sometimes people will say things you weren’t expecting. Adapt and move on.

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