Preparing for an interview
- Find a person with a story to tell about a topic that you find interesting.
- Research the person and/or the topic at the library and on the Internet, etc. This will help you ask intelligent and creative questions. (Something different than most people would ask.)
- Make an appointment to talk to the person, then be sure to arrive on time.
- Prepare your questions in advance, but be ready to ask additional questions if they occur to you during the interview.
- Bring a pen or pencil, pad of paper and possibly even a tape recorder if you think that you might have trouble taking notes during the interview. You may also bring along a camera to take photos after the interview is completed.
- Believe in yourself -- you can do this!
Conducting the interview
- Greet the person you'll be interviewing and remind them of your name and why you are talking to them. (For example, "Hi, my name is Donna Jackson, and I'm writing a story for my school newspaper about your work with Rescue dogs.)
- Ask the questions on your list and listen carefully to the person's answers. Take notes on the important points, and don't forget to look at the person you're talking with during the interview. (It makes people nervous if it looks like you're writing down every word that they say!)
- Note any anecdotes (or small stories) that the person uses to illustrate a point. (For example, "My dog Sasha acts bravely in the face of danger. She once helped save a woman from a burning building . . . ")
- Notice the surroundings and note important details that you might want to use in your story. What type of pictures does the person have hanging on the wall? Is there anything unusual in the room that you'd like to have the person explain?
- Ask for the correct spelling of words that are unfamiliar to you, and make sure that you have the correct spelling of people's names!
- Thank the person for his or her time when the interview is completed. Ask if you can follow up with any questions by phone or by e-mail.