Interview Purposes and Techniques

Interview Styles

Hard News Style: A hard news style interview is one of the most common styles you would see. It is serious and gets straight to the point, there is never usually any entertainment to be had from this interview style. This style is usually seen on News programmes, such as; News at 10, Channel 4 News etc.) the questions in this interview are asked to find out things that the public/audience wish to know.

Investigative: This style of interview is designed to find out information about a particular subject. This style is very versatile and can be used to interview people from politicians to criminals or celebrities. Generally anybody who has information that people would like to know.

Light Hearted: This interview style is conducted in a non-serious way. However, this doesn’t mean the interview isn’t played out serious way for the audience, or isn’t about a serious topic. It is instead about how the interviewer and the interviewee go about the interview, the back and forth between the two is kept fun, and doesn’t become too serious.

Combative: Combative style interviews are fairly common in this day and age. This style is interview is used when the interviwer/reporter is interviewing someone, but the interviewee doesn’t want to give out the information that they are being asked for. An example of this would be if a reporter was following someone, asking questions, and continuing to do so, even after being refused an answer. It is combative, because the interviewee is resisting against the reporter, and not giving out the information asked of them.

Promotional: This style of interview is based around promotion of a product, event or something that other people want to know about. It promotes them, hence the name, ‘Promotional’. This can involve an actor promoting a film, or an author promoting their new book. The interviewer/reporters job in this style of interview is to ask the interviewee open questions, so that they can talk and promote their book/film more in as much detail as they feel is needed.

Interview Questions

Open: An open question is a question that requires a more indepth answer than a simple yes or no. These are often used in promotional interviews, as it gives the interviewee a chance to go into more detail about what they’re talking about. An example of this type of question would be: “What else can you tell us about this?”

Closed: A closed question is a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no, or any other one worded way. These can often be in the form of multiple choice or perhaps in a scale format, giving a number as an answer, or an A-D type answer. Examples of these would be, “Did you eat breakfast this morning?” “On a scale of 1-10, how was it?” “Out of these cereals which would would you rather have? A – Coco pops. B – Cheerios. C – Cornflakes. D – Golden Nuggets.”

Single: A single question is a question that simply requires one answer. This can tie in with closed questions in the sense of scale formats and multiple choice.

Multiple: A multiple question is a question that has two or more parts to it. So for example, the interviewer/reporter would ask the interviewee a question, then depending on their answer, the second part of the question would follow.

Direct: A direct question is a question the normal question that we would ask someone. Simply directed at the interviewee, a regular question. For example, “Tell us about the game?”

Leading: A leading question is a question that would lead the interviewee to a specific answer. These questions can also be known as Suggestive Interrogation. They often suggest particular answers that the interviewer/reporter is trying to get confirmed by the interviewee.

Evolution over the years of Television interview techniques

Through the many years of film making, interviews have changed along with the productions found on the screen. Whether they changed due to the change in productions or the other way around, is debatable. The first ever interview was filmed in 1935, and showed a woman sitting in a chair, simply talking to us and responding to the questions being asked. It was all very straightforward and straight faced. In another word, basic and raw.  However, from there, the invention from the first interview, it could could only develop and get better. To see for yourself how much interviews have changed over the years, you only need to watch TV shows nowadays. Like the news or Jonathan Ross.

Interviews and types of questions in my production

The interviews in my production, Ale of Wight, would be investigative and light hearted. It would be investigative in the sense that we are trying to gather information about the businesses, whose workers we are interviewing, Chris/Ash Coleman at Island Ales etc. During that interview, we are trying to find out about their positions there, as well as about competition and distribution. Our interviews will also light hearted, as in we would never pressure our interviewee’s for information, we will ask them the question and they would, hopefully, answer as best as they could. We would never make anything too serious and it will hopefully pay off. We would get the information we needed and our interviewees would never feel pressured.

Our questions will be a mix of open and multiple. Open questions would be the best for these interviews as they would enabled us to get the best answers from our interviewee’s. It allows them go into as much detail as they need or want to, with the subject. The multiple questions would come out when there might things we could ask them, if a second question came to mind after their answer.


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