What Are Journalists' Interview Questions?


Quick Answer

The most basic interview questions that journalists ask begin with one of the so-called five W's: who, what, when, where and why. What might be considered a sixth basic question begins with the word "how," and such open-ended questions are arguably the broadest because they encourage the interviewee answer freely and expound on the topic. In contrast, questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" aren't ideal because the interviewee can decide not to elaborate, thus eliminating the opportunity to gather greater details for the interview.

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Full Answer

The specific questions to ask are based on the theme that's determined to be relevant for the interview. For example, if the theme is about how to become a successful writer, then an appropriate question might be to ask accomplished writers about what specific habits and actions they take to be disciplined about writing a certain number of pages each day. This pointed question prevents the interviewee from merely waxing philosophical about what it takes to be successful and instead provides real insights.

Sometimes, the interview questions must be tough. For example, if may be necessary to ask a highly successful athlete about claims of steroid use. These intrusive questions, embarrassing as they may be, may yield often surprising answers.

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