Show — Don't Tell

Interviewing Tips from Prof. Steve Davis

The following list is a recap of the tips Prof. Davis provided during The Stand’s August Workshop on Interviewing:

• Before the interview starts, tell the person about to be interviewed what you hope to get out of the interview and why you want to know this specific information

• During the interview, have a conversation

• Really listen — focus on what is being said

• Probe — always ask follow-up questions and when the interviewee says something interesting, seek more juicy details; Be relentlessly curious

• Don’t forget DEA — gather Details, Examples and Anecdotes

• Show — Don’t Tell

• Always get the person’s full name (to be sure you have it spelled correctly ask them to spell it, write it out and then show it to them so they can confirm it is correct)

• Also it is good to get a short description to go with the person. This could be “a life-long resident of the South Side” “lives on South State Street” or “volunteer at the American Red Cross”

• When the interview is over, follow-up. Set up a good time when you can call the person back to ask follow-up questions. Exchange contact information — this way, if the person things of something they wished they had told you, then can call you and share the information

• After this, go home and really thing about what happened at the interview. What was most interesting? Is your focus of your story the same? How will you organize this information?

• Reflect on your interview and think about how it could have been better. What questions do you need to ask in your follow-up interview?

• Finally, think about what you learned from this experience and how you can build on this to make your next story even better

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