As a simple definition, an interview should aim at getting from the interviewee, in their own words, facts, opinions or reasons on a particular subject so listeners can form their own opinion. Know  what to get out of the interview. An important assets of the interviewer is the ability to listen. 

The informational interview aims at providing information for the listener. The interviewer is seeking the facts. The briefing will be detailed to define the angle of the interview, so that the interviewee can well prepare herself.

In the interpretative interview the interviewee is asked to explain or to comment. Since the interpretive interview aims to get an opinion or reaction from the interviewee, the less explanation beforehand, the better. The briefing just includes the basic information.

The emotional interview is the most sensitive kind of interview. The interviewer must use the utmost tact, respect, and be sensitive to the feelings of people at a time of grief. Define in the briefing what areas will be discussed and what should not be touched. If needed protect the identity of the interviewee.

“Vox pops” or “vox populi” means the “voice of the people”. Basically, you decide on a question, and ask a number of people the same question, and edit the answers together.


Studio - ­ The advantage: sound proof best recording quality. The disadvantage the interviewees might be intimidated by all the equipment. Make the interviewee feel comfortable and at ease in the studio.

On Site ­ - at the home or work­place of the interviewee, your interviewee will feel more relaxed. But there might be unwanted sound and distraction on site. So make sure you got a quiet corner.

The telephone Interview is quick and bridges distances. But is impersonal and the sound quality is bad. Try to keep telephone interviews short, 3 - ­5 minutes.


Preparation: Research the topic and define what exactly you want to find out. Identify the best person to interview. Look for a woman interviewee who cares how the topic affects women. Set date, time, and location for the interview. This first contact with the resource person can be helpful to research the topic. Brief the resource person before the interview with what you expect and all relevant information.

How to interview people who are used to be interviewed? Politicians, celebrities, spokespersons, etc. Don't let them 'waffle' or avoid answering the questions. Be alert to keep control over the interview.

How about people who don't want to be interviewed? Anyone has the right NOT to be interviewed. Explain why it is in their best interest to inform the public. Be courteous at all times. You can also mention over the radio that a certain person did not want to give an interview on this topic.

How to interview the person in the street or community? These persons might be intimidated by the microphones. Give them the feeling that their opinion is important. You might begin the interview with a “throwaway question”. Make sure you get women's voices.

How to interview a friends or people we work together with? Be careful that the interview does not sound boring. Don't use insider language. Ask critical questions or raise arguments of the opposition.

Check list for your Interview

Before the interview

• What to you want to know after the interview?
• How long should the interview be?

Prepare the interview

• Research the topic and possible interviewees.
• Contact the interviewees, set date and time and place for the interview.


• Clear and short questions
• Use the 5 W and 1 H.
• No yes/no questions
• No double barrelled questions.
• No either/or questions.
• No non­question questions.
• Act as devil's advocate.


• Check equipment before leaving.
• Bring headphone and microphone.
• Bring extra tape, extra batteries.
• Make a sound check in the location before starting the interview.
• Label your tape, MD or MP3 track.


• Disturbing noises, other interruptions and disturbances.
• Telephone interviews good quality line and keep it short.

Prepare the interviewee

• Clarify Name, organisation and position of interviewee.
• Agree on language of the interview.
• Explain length and context of the interview.
• Depending on the type of interview discuss the questions for the informative interview.
• Discuss what can and what cannot be discussed in the emotional interview.

The interview proper

• Sound interested
• Don't make excuses for asking a question.
• Dare to interrupt but do it at the first and only attempt.
• Hold on to the microphone and the question paper.
• No yes, mmh or other affirmative sounds.
• Use non­verbal communications.
• Watch the time of the interview.

Winding up the interview

• Announce the end with a “last” question.
• Repeat the person's name position, organisation and the topic of the interview.

After the interview

• Check if the interview is recorded in radio quality.

Bianca Miglioretto, Isis­International­Manila, August 2007
Source: Ethnic Public Radio Training Program, PBAA