Week 2: Interviewing and vox pop practice

Interview skills

This afternoon was all about interviews and the skills we would be required to develop in order to carry them out successfully. I have identified the different skills required to carry out a successful interview, carried out an interview and written up an evaluation of the whole interviewing process this afternoon. Firstly, interviews are a source of primary research, which means the journalist carries out the research and their findings themselves. The advantages for this are that the journalist can gain information and facts that can not be found anywhere else or by secondary research, and because they can gain a better understanding themselves by listening to others.

We learnt about what are the key ‘ingredients’ that go into a good interview. They were:

Physical preparation and good research: planning the questions you’re going to ask; taking notes of the responds and answers and even planning a brief summary of the topic in case your interviewee has limited knowledge of it. Also, making people and the interviewee feel at ease: making the interviewee feel comfortable at first by not rushing into any difficult and ‘negative’ questions; giving them the little briefing on the topic and ensuring that the questions are open and easy-going to start off with. And finally, acknowledging them during their say: because if the conversation is interrupted, it could ruin the chance of any key information and facts being said. This includes a simple “yes” or “I see.”

Next, we were introduced to ‘vox pops’- a small number of questions asked to different people, in order to get their opinion on a topic. This also makes it more interesting, since ‘everyday’ people are voicing their opinions as well as people in power. We also learnt how neutral questions are used within vox pops, which means we word the question in a way which doesn’t get us a certain answer.

Later on, we created a neutral, open question in groups and then went out into different parts of the college to interview various people on our question.

Our question was: “What is your opinion on David Cameron’s plan to allow 20,000 refugees into the country over the next 5 years?”

The reasoning for this question was because it was relevant to a recent story that had happened in the news, so it was up to date. Also, it was an open question, so the interviewee was able to give their opinion and turn the interview into more of a conversation, rather than just a simple ‘yes/no’ answer.

We would be using our own conducted questions to interview various people around the college and collect their own opinions on our topic- which was the refugee crisis. However, we only started off with one question because if the interviewee struggles to answer one at all, we wouldn’t be putting them under any pressure to answer more. Our question was “What is your opinion on David Cameron’s plan to allow 20,000 refugees into the country over the next 5 years?”

Week 2: Interviewing and vox pop practice

One thought on “Week 2: Interviewing and vox pop practice

  1. tomrowse says:

    Your interview work all went well – especially impressive has been how you have controlled yourself and overcome your own fears and planned and conducted some good interviews over the course of the term; this is the bread and butter of journalism, and it will serve you well for you to have made such good progress straight away.


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