Phone, email, face-to-face? Poynter explores interviewing methods
What’s your preferred method for interviewing someone? The choice used to be face-to-face or over the phone, but now we’ve got lots of additional options: email, instant message, Skype, texting, Facebook, Twitter.
Mallary Jean Tenore of Poynter.org talked to five journalists recently about their preferred method of interviewing.
The journalists—Lane DeGregory of the Tampa Bay Times, Joanna Smith of the Toronto Star, Jaweed Kaleem of the Huffington Post, Cindy Carcamo of the Orange County Register and Steve Fox, a multimedia lecturer at the University of Massachusetts—go over some of the strengths and weaknesses of the different formats.
DeGregory, for example, prefers to be in the room with her interview subject, where she can see body language and observe details she’d never dream to ask about on the phone or over email. Smith, on the other hand, finds it effective to interview political figures on the phone, where she says she’s able to get them to focus on the conversation.
Sometimes you have no choice. The person you need to interview is in the room, as in a locker room. Or he’s 3,000 miles away and only reachable by phone. Sometimes you go with what makes the interview subject most comfortable, because that’s likely to get you the best quotes.
But when it’s your call, what method do you choose?