10 ETHICAL PRACTICES IN CONDUCTING AN INTERVIEWS

Being an interviewee is not so easy. But being an interviewer is definitely harder than being a source. You should make everything’s cleared before you start interviewing. However, Journalists should know and follow the basic ethical practices during an interview for them to gain your source’s and people’s trust. Here’s the top 10.

  1. Be approachable and comfortable. Sources might be less inclined to give you the information you are looking for if you are uncomfortable, if you are at ease and conversational. Then more often than not, sources will be too. 
  2. Ask pointed but open minded questions. Avoid questions with yes or no answers whenever possible.
  3. Ask “why.” If a sources is uncomfortable with the question, he or she will tell you. If a source has already agreed to be interviewed, you might as well ask.
  4. Ask one question at a time and keep it as simple as possible. If you want a source to stay on topic, you need to direct them toward the topic with your questions.
  5. Avoid revealing your own opinion about the subject. It might affect your source’s answers.
  6. Listen and ask follow up questions. You should certainly prepare questions for your sources ahead of time. But don’t be so rigid that you stick exactly to your script your story will suffer because the best information is found by diving deep into the subject, not by gleaning the surface.
  7. Consider recording the interview especially when discussing a sensitive topic. People don’t always remember exactly what they said so recording is a good way to prove you are not being libelous and misquoting.
  8. Don’t assume you know what someone is talking about without hearing them say it. Ask obvious questions even if you think you know the answer.
  9. Ask personal experiences to get anecdotes. Personal experiences provide the most interesting details for your story.
  10. TAKE GOOD NOTES!
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