How to Write Up an Interview

 

There are two ways an interview can be written up.  One is as a regular news story (either straight or narrative).  The other is in a "Question and Answer" ("Q & A") format

 

News story style:

  1. Choose a Title (HEADLINE)

·        A good title should have something about the topic of the interview. It may also have a subtitle that includes the name of the person(s) being interviewed (magazine)

·        Summary of the topic (newspaper)

 

  1. Interviewer/author’s name (BYLINE)

 

  1. 1st Sentence/Paragraph tells the topic under discussion and who is being interviewed.

  

·        Write in paragraphs (story style)

·        Use dialogue and identify the speaker(s) (exact quotations and who said them)

·        Be to describe the people interviewed in a way that shows why he/she is a good source of information

·        Don’t use “I” unless it’s in dialogue from a witness

·        Titles should summarize the entire story generally; the article should add details, “filling out” the story

·        Format should look similar to what follows:

 

“TITLE”

by Your Name, Your Employer

(CITY) – The article begins here.  You only put in a city, or byline, if the story happened in one specific location/city; otherwise, the first paragraph is indented.  If the story does happen in one place, there is no indentation; everything through the first paragraph begins at the margin.

            When you start the second paragraph, you should indent it.  Every paragraph that follows should also be indented.

 

Click to see an example of a story-style interview.

Q & A style:

  1. The title usually includes the name of the subject being interviewed, often with a clever twist or an allusion to the main topic(s) the interview will cover.
  2. The author usually gets a byline directly beneath the title.
  3. The actual interview itself should start with a short introduction that explains to the reader who is being interviewed, when and where the interview is taking place (to provide context), and what the main topic(s) of the interview will be.
  4. The rest of the interview looks very much like a transcript
  5. Sometimes, a question or answer may be preceded by a context clue that will help the audience understand that there is more meaning going on than just the words themselves.  Sometimes called a "parenthetical", these notes are usually in brackets (sometimes parentheses); they usually appear right after the speaker's name, although they can go in the middle of a question or answer if that is where the notation belongs.
  6. The interview usually concludes with a question designed to provide an answer that gives closure to the overall interview. 

Click to see some examples of a Q&A-style interview.