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How to Interview
The Art of the Media Interview

McLaughlin, Paul
Publisher:  Self-Counsel Press, Vancouver, Canada
Year Published:  1990   First Published:  1986
Pages:  233pp   Price:  9.95   ISBN:  0-88908-872-1
Book Type:  Handbooks/Manuals

Library of Congress Number:  PN4784.I6M24 1990   Dewey:  070.4'3
Resource Type:  Book

A guide to good interviewing.

Abstract:  How to Interview: The Art of Media Interview is a guide to good interviewing with experiences of professionals as examples of how to go about it. The book is divided into different sections with headings such as "The Art of Listening," "Negotiating the Interview," and "Print Interviews." Each section also contains a feature interview with well-known interviewers like Patrick Watson, George Plimpton, and Barbara Frum. The book covers a wide range of topics including how to line up interviews, where to find research material, the best locations for interviews, how tone of voice affects an interview and how to use quotes in interviews. The underlying idea of the book is that there cannot be rigid, set rules and instructions for interviewing. There are certain guidelines, and a certain amount of preparation one can do for an interview, but there is also a level of spontaneity required. The book is quite thorough in its coverage of various aspects of interviewing and deals with the subject from multiple angles. According to the author, the book is not a textbook but "a personal interpretation of the interview process".

Paul McLaughlin has worked as a producer, interviewer and researcher for CBC Radio, teaches journalism at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, is the co-author of the script for the NFB film Acid From Heaven and has written articles for many magazines.

[Abstract by Nabeeha Chaudhary]

Table of Contents


Part I: The Art of Listening
1. What Makes a Good Listener?
2. Silence is eloquent
3. As you were saying …
4. Hearing is believing
5. Grieving Indians make good pictures
6. Saying nothing tired me out
Interview: Dr Herbert Pollack

Part II: The Elements of Research
1. The purpose of research
2. In praise of libraries
3. Reach out and touch someone
4. From the outside in
5. What colour socks did you wear on your first heist?
6. Caveat researcher
7. Researching for radio and TV
Interview: Leora Aisenberg

Part III: Negotiating the Interview
1. Don't presume the Ayatollah won't talk
2. Fear of phoning
3. Tracking down sources
4. Just phone and say please
5. The pen is slower than the phone, but the tortoise did beat the hare
6. I have a right to this interview
7. Pickups and other fun assignments
8. The ambush interview
Interview: James Glasgow

Part IV: The Other Side: Being Interviewed
1. Loving and loathing
2. Case history: the bureaucrat and the starstruck fly
3. What's at stake?
4. Some observations about interviewees
5. Interviewees talk back
Interview: Maureen McTeer

Part V: Preparing for the Interview
1. Print vs broadcast
2. The story angle
3. Preparing the questions
4. The opening question
5. It's not what you say, it's how you say it
6. There are no rules, but here are some of them
Interview: June Callwood
Interview: Earl McRae

Part VI: Focus: Broadcast Interviews
1. Handling the tough interview
2. Expect the unexpected
3. Creative questioning
4. Sensitive subjects
5. Pointers on broadcast interviews
6. Radio shoptalk
7. Scrums
Interview: Barbara Frum
Interview: Peter Gzowski

Part VII: Focus: Print Interviews
1. Casing the joint
2. The extra effort
3. Guidelines for your interview
4. Using quotes
5. Putting it together
Interview: George Plimpton

Part VIII: Final Notes
1. Choosing a location
2. Body politics
3. The games people play
4. The seduction factor
5. The joy of tape recorders
6. The case for taking notes
7. Off-the-record
8. Submitting questions
9. Conclusion
Interview: Patrick Watson


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