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:
- 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)
- Interviewer/author’s name (BYLINE)
- Where (geographic locale) info is from
(goes in ( ) )
- 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
Titles should summarize the entire story
generally; the article should add details, “filling out” the story
Format should look similar to what follows:
by Your Name, Your
(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.
you start the second paragraph, you should indent it. Every paragraph that
follows should also be indented.
Click to see an example of a
Q & A style:
- 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.
- The author usually gets a byline directly beneath the
- 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.
- The rest of the interview looks very much like a
- If the interviewer represents a specific group or
magazine, his or her questions are usually prefaced with the name of the
group or magazine instead of his or her name.
- Alternatively, the interviewer's words can be prefaced
with his own name. This could be both first and last name, or just a
- The subject's name precedes her responses. As with
the interviewer, this could be both first and last name, or just a last
- Frequently, after the first question and answer, the
identifiers are abbreviated to initials.
- 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.
- 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.