Conducting Interviews- Behind the scenes


Interviews can be found everywhere in our daily lives. Whether it’s print,online,
phone,radio or Television we use these sources as a process of finding out information for any research we are after, as it is more successful than a simple questionnaire.  
If we base interviews directly on television we find them in chat shows,panel shows,promotional films,political shows,documentaries,news and sport seeing the interviewer directly speak to the subject for the answer they are looking for.

There are 6 types of questions in interviews:
Open end “How does this make you feel?”
Closed end “What colour are your socks?”
Single “Do you have any tattoos”
Multiple (Voxpop technique) “What tattoos do you have” “Do you want anymore?”
Suggestive (Sheppard) “Now is it true that…because I’ve heard that you..”
Direct “Why do you think this job is for you?”

An open ended question is used for a more profound answer towards the subjects feelings, letting them suggest their own answer and is opposite to a closed ended question of mainly yes,no or maybe but a closed ended question could also be a single word or very short answer.

The difference between single and multiple questions are that a single question would be continuous questions with no intention of carrying on that topic for example ”Do you have any tattoos”.. next subject. Multiple questions are the questions that lead on from previous answers to find out even more information on the topic such as ”What tattoos do you have?” “Do you want anymore?” you can also use the voxpop technique where its one question but with multiple answers which then is better for finding out research.

Suggestive questions are the ones that Sheppard you into giving them an answer they thought they knew of, it’s kind of like gossiping from what you’ve been told before, usually celebrities get asked these questions from accusations and rumours “Now is it true that…because I’ve heard that you..” It can either have a huge impact on the subject and be irreprochable depending on the topic. You have to be either well known with the interviewee or impressively friendly to ask them these type of questions unless they are guilty as charged.

Direct questions  ”Why do you think this job is for you?” these questions are straight to the point,no lead ons no ifs no buts. basically the issue is this and I want to know what you think and I’m not hinting you for the answer I’m wanting. 

Interviews have their very own different styles to suit a specific viewer/target audience and specific genre of programme each to our own taste.

Hard news deals with major important news stories,very investigative that also heavy hit directly involved people in events. The interviewee will use open questions as the topic will be complex. They will also use alot of multiple questions and suggestive questions to gain the main purpose they were looking for.

These interviews are usually intense and deal with sensitive issues. The link below is to an example of a Hard News interview with Charlie Sheen on Good Morning America on ABC. The interview talks to Charlie Sheen about his drug and alcohol problem and his side of the story. 
This reporter needs to decide if she wants to do an interview, or an intervention, as she is very anti-sheen so she will be very biased as hard news interviews can be very argumentative.

Investigative interviews link in with combative and hard news because the interviewer talks about particular incidents or events, although theyre not as popular as the others because their main purpose is for documentaries are little clippings for the news. The interviewe will start by asking easy open questions to see if they reveal anything and if not they  then build up with key questions  so that the aim is to probe the interviewee to give out this information.

Combative interviews usually involve a politician who trys to avoid getting a direct answer to the interviewer. The best interviewer example for this style of interview is Jeremy Paxman he uses combative interviews as a direct source to get a straight up answer and to create a debate. The interviewer have to battle their way through to get the information to the viewer. The link below shows Jeremy Paxman interviewing John Prescott defending bullying alligations of Gordon Brown on BBC’s newsnight. The interviewee make it difficult for the interviewer so they have to keep repeating the question until they give in or lose the plot. Combative Interviews can also be heard on late night radio.

Light hearted interviews are designed to entertain and inform the viewer, in an opposite way of a hard hitting interview. It is calm and less serious and in a friendly style. Both the interviewee and interviewer will be comfortable (they will have spoke beforehand with confidence building and the interviewer will have already researched about the interviewee)in talking to each other with simple questions. You can link this with entertainment interviews because they are both humorous for all types of topics being discussed and informal banter. Both techniques will be shown on programmes such as Jonathon Ross and Loose women, chat show and panel shows. Both entertainment and light hearted are the most common type of interview on all Tv channels because it is so easily watchable. Because they are mainly interviewing celebrities they can use this for promotion and promotional interviews will mention the last film they’ve been(most common) in or upcoming films,the last book they wrote or their new perfume or album out next week. The interviewer get the information they want and the interviewee can give the information they wanted so its a win win situation. The host will ask questions specifically about the programme/film, the plot line and how well its doing towards the viewers such as if there is another upcoming series. If it was just a promotional interview they would have had a few cast stars and then the directors point of view set up in usually a hotel room using a large film poster they’ve just participated in as a promotional tool.

The link below is part one of the Jonathon Ross show with Hugh Laurie 1:45 explains that the host will have had to watch the show for research or gained research as he explains why he likes the show what Hugh Laurie is in as it also persuades audiences who haven’t seen it to watch it.

For every interview there is a structure, this structure gets the viewer from start to finish we know what the topic is about and what we find out in the end. The interviews start off with an introduction. Sometimes the interviewer will say who they are before they tell us who they are interviewing as we get an insight of their role. They then introduce who the interviewee is and why they are being interviewed. They then will use confidence building questions so that they can form a small relationship or bond with another so that they are both calm and collective. They then progress onto developmental questions using single open questions and maybe a few multiple questions. As they are walking up the bridge they are reaching towards the top which is the major point of the interview WHAT CERTAIN INFORMATION WE NEED, the key questions of course, the main topics and the most important piece of the interview and they have to get this right by having that nice build up in the first place so that the interviewee feels secure and that the interviewer is trustworthy and caring. Soundbites can be used in documentaries so that the audience know whats about to come and what they’re about to watch, sort of like a mini mini doctrailer showing highlights of the interview. Soundbites can also be used for one question for a multiple of people so that the audience don’t have to have the interviewer repeating that question over and over again and will be cut out in editing. Once the key question/s have been answered they then start to come back down to low level and the interviewer summarise whats been said, a short snappy repeat back to the audience. They then finally have a wind up/wrap up at the end that give us the last feedback and to let the audience know the interview is now over.

Communication Skills are needed when it comes to interviewees and their feelings.
Just what is body language? we have to approach what we and others are feeling by showing these distinct reactionts to subjects, it shows what the atmosphere is like. You will be able to tell if an interviewee is nervous as the look towards one side than at the interviewer so they’re not making full eye co ordination and they will touch certain body parts such as pulling their ear or rubbing their chin. Crossing arms can also mean they are feeling awkward or fiddling with clothing can mean they don’t want to answer this question. Body language can show acceptance or approval if they are smiling/laughing  and they are nodding at the interviewer.
Hand gestures show we are still at presence and we are still reconnecting that connection with the interviewee and the audience. We use gestures all over our body but the most common is hands as you show an understanding of the topic your talking about. Political leaders use alot of hand guestures to improve their speech,they do this by talking in terms or points of three and they move their hand three times because the audience will read in threes. Hand gestures are very powerful and show a strong confident person so if you want to interview someone you can say more in less time  and it gives more visual signals to the interviewee that you are still in participation in the conversation.

Active listening is when the interviewer has to be ready on their feet  to what the interviewee’s say in case you have to react and need to make it flow like a conversation, if an interviewee asks them a question or goes off subject the interviewer then needs to steer back to the same route or even think of a question themself by having backup research that you are ready for them and that they then know you are paying full attention than just being a nodding dog infront of the public. Active listening is more personal because you are focusing on them and you are responding to them without being distracted.

Research Purposes are the pre-planning before any interview as you need to know all about the interviewee’s personality,what they are like being interviewed,reactions to questions,who they are friends with,local issues that they’ve been involved in and basic general news,what things do they like,what they don’t want to talk about as this is the main reason for why you wanted to interview them in the first place.

Enhancement of audience understanding is when you take an interviewer for example Piers Morgan and how he talks to celebrities in a way that the audience now understands someones life in that celebrities point of view, instead of a fake news report.This ties in with Interpretive as it is expressing/explaining opinions on why things came about in their lives (links with combative style). Piers Morgan lets the celebrities break down and get emotional with in-depth hard hitting questions so that the audience will sympathise for them which also ties in with the emotional purpose which can also then tie in with informational because we are fed information about the topics and taboo subjects about this interviewee. We see alot of informational interviews in the news and in factual documentaries. We then get the final entertainment purpose which is used for most or all aspects of interviews as this is for whoever it appeals to in the first place.

The others don’t like my interviews. And frankly, I don’t care much for theirs. 
Freddie Mercury