Gathering information from interviews is really simple. You ask the right questions and get the right answers.
But what do you think will happen if you go to the interview without doing any preliminary research?
Let's imagine you are going to interview a Chief Executive Office of an organisation. Your brief for the article includes facts like this person is the youngest in the history of the company to reach CEO. He also sits on the boards of several institutes -- Again, the youngest person to attain this level.
As the interviewer, you want to know as much as possible about the person, the company he works for and his special interests. You want to go into the interview as prepared as possible.
During the interview if you mention information about him or the company, he will know you have done your homework and you are interested in what he has to say.
This is how I would prepare:
- Telephone the organisation and ask for the public relations department. If the company doesn't have one, ask for the name of their consultant.
- Request a media pack. This usually contains the latest press releases, profile of the company, perhaps a brochure, web site address, and so on. Tell either the public relations department or the consultant you are going to write an article about the CEO. This admission will prompt the person you are dealing with to ensure you are given everything they have on the top man.
- Check the web site and download anything that could be of interest.
- Put the person's name into a search engine in case he has written any papers or articles that have been published. Download them.
- Look up the web sites for the institutes that he has a special interest in.
- Read through all the gathered material and write a statement on what the article is about and also write a brief/detailed outline of what you want to include and the direction you want the article to take.
- Write a script containing all the questions you are going to ask at the interview. Even if you have managed to find some of the details elsewhere, still ask the questions. This is a good way of double-checking the facts.
Without the script you may not ask the right questions and the answers will not reveal the information you need to write a strong well-rounded article that meets the editor's brief.
Barb Clews is an award winning journalist with nearly 1,000 published articles to her credit. She has been a writer and editor for 15 years and is the author of "Article Writing for Freelancers" and "20 Tips to Increase Writing Skills" Visit http://www.bcabooks.com/ to subscribe to "Words that Work", Barb's monthly ezine packed with tips for writers.