Reporter's Interviewing Guide The Voice Handbook
The Voice Stylebook
Morgue (2008-2011)
Morgue (2003-2008)
Indices: Author | Subject

Like It Is — Bradly Gill (left) interviews Bill Stevenson, whose father was a terrorist and high-ranking member of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Gill currently works for Gannett in Monroe. (Photo by Lee Hassler)
To assure a complete news story:

  • Take this guide with you whenever you interview anyone for a news or feature story.
  • While you are interviewing, consult this outline repeatedly.  Do not consider that you have completed the interview satisfactorily until you are sure you have exhausted the possibilities below.
  • Continue to use this guide during every interview until you have a complete command of its contents.

WHAT happened?  What might or will happen as a result of this occurrence?  What relative importance does this happening have concerning (1) intellectual, (2) moral, (3) social aspects of UAM, Monticello and/or Southeast Arkansas? What events brought about this happening?  What other sources can you contact to get additional information?

WHO figures in this happening?  Who is the faculty member or department or student that is connected with this event?  Be sure to get first and last names and also information that identifies this person or these people (e.g. professor of education, sophomore, president of SGA, etc).  Who will be affected by the happening?  Who gave you the information?

WHEN did this event take place?  When is it going to take place?  When was the action first started?  When is it going to stop?  When did your source first learn of, or first start, the action that resulted in this story?  When can you get final details if they are not available now?

WHERE did this event take place?  Where is it going to take place?  Where did your source get the idea for this event?  Where is the event going to take (a) the subject(s) of the story or (b) the readers of the story?  Where are you conducting this interview?  Where will you go for more information? 

WHY did this event take place?  Why is it going to take place?  Why would your readers want to know?  Why is your source giving you this information?  Why didn’t you hear about this sooner

HOW will this event affect UAM, the students, the readers of the paper?  How are you going to write this story up?  How was this event accomplished?

REMEMBER: Get all the information you can.

Once you have the information, then consider how to present it.  Look for the most important or most interesting piece of information and begin with that.


Special thanks to Dr. Donna Edsall, Muskingum University, for devising the interview guide!

If you don't understand something in this Web note, please e-mail Dr. Sitton.

©UAM Student Publications 2005-2012
Revised 082012