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15 steps to a successful interview

  1. Know your audience and how to reach those readers.
  2. Do your background research before setting up the interview.
  3. Prepare a list of questions.
  4. Record the interview for accuracy.
  5. Cover basic information by asking who, what, when, where and why questions.
  6. Encourage detailed response by asking open-ended questions such as, Tell me about….       
  7. Look for ways a project or research can improve lives. 
  8. When interviewing researchers about complex scientific subjects, ask for analogies to explain the concepts.  
  9. Listen for unusual expressions as potential direct quotes.
  10. Request names of colleagues or peers who could add information about the subject.        
  11. Check for student involvement, especially undergraduate researchers. 
  12. Be sure to ask students about their year in school, major and if they are comfortable disclosing their hometown.
  13. Ask alumni about their graduation years, degrees and hometowns.      
  14. Finish the questions by asking interviewees if they would like to add anything. 
  15. Contact your Mizzou News representative if the story has broad appeal for a media release.

Need more tips? Check the University Bookstore for reporting textbooks by Missouri School of Journalism professors.

Need advice? Contact Marketing & Communications.