Interviewing is an essential part of journalism. Extracting information from people is difficult and it definitely requires the interviewer to have a certain amount of skill. The number one thing you can do before an interview with someone is research the topic or person involved and prepare questions ahead of time. Getting people to loosen their lips is an art and it takes some finessing to ensure that you get the information you want.
A fun and interesting format for interviews is displayed on talk shows. Although there are writers for these shows who prepare a lot of the material, it is the host who is responsible for delivering the interview in an exciting and compelling manner.
My favorite talk show is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Hers is a show with an extremely fun atmosphere. With a great mix of celebrity guests and normal people with extraordinary stories, Ellen infuses her interviews with a unique style and comedic flair.
Funny is good.
One particular interview that took place before the 2008 Presidential elections with John McCain showcases Ellen’s assured presence when discussing gay marriage. Although she and McCain have very different views on this topic, Ellen allows him to express his opinion without interjecting.
This interview is also a good example of how interviewees should be prepared to deal with tough questions. McCain appears flustered and does not seem to be able to articulate a strong argument for his own position in the hot seat that he was in.
Talk show interviews are not usually the most gripping but they do demonstrate good interviewing techniques. Hosts maintain their personality and instill distinctive qualities into the interview that keep you watching.