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Sounds Good!
Jon Beaupré is a voice and performance consultant for radio and television performers. Under the name Broadcast Voice, he provides private training and workshops for reporters, anchors, sports and weather casters, and others working in electronic and broadcast media. He teaches in the Broadcast Communications program at California State University at Los Angeles, and conducts workshops and seminars with the Associated Press Radio and Television Association. He has been a fixture on the convention circuit, teaching workshops at a wide range of specialty journalism and broadcast conventions and stations on both coasts of the U.S.


April 22, 2002

We’re going over a number of the most important elements of

a good interview. We started last week by suggesting that

you do lots and lots of home work on your subject.

This week, a bit on what you do with that research. The

second important rule of good interviews is to prepare your

script carefully. This means to think a bit about the kind

of interview you are doing. A live interview is less

controllable, but the chemistry of that live interaction can

often make your interview much more spontaneous and fresh.

If your interview is to be recorded, you have a bit more

leaway in not having your questions perfect, but the danger

is often with the pressure off, the interview looses some of

its “juice”.

When we say prepare your script carefully, we mean a couple

of things. It means, in general, to put your most important

questions first, followed by your second, third and

subsequent questions after that. For a feature interview

that will get little editing, you might also consider

holding your second most important question in reserve to

tease for later in the show.

If you are working on a heavily edited piece, with

producers, editors and the like, be sure you agree on not

only the wording of the questions, but the actual meanings

of those questions.

If you are doing an interview that comprises the bulk of

your program, prepare your script in such a way that you can

easily intro your show, intro your guest, and get to your

first questions without thinking much. Once you make it to

your first question - or more accurately, when your guest

gets to his or her first answer, you have some time to

think, reflect, and plan your next question, but don’t loose

contact with your guest when you do that.

By all means, if your guest inspires follow up questions,

and your schedule allows, follow these new thoughts wherever

they might lead. If you are on a tighter schedule, you

won’t have the luxury of following where the guest’s

thoughts might go.

Next week: what you are trying to get your guest to say.

Until then, keep breathing!