How to Write an Interview Paper
Choose a quiet location, such as a library, a park or the interviewer’s office, and get there on time. If it is difficult to meet in person, you can interview via telephone, video call or other electronic means.
How to Write an Interview Paper
An interview paper provides the reader with a detailed understanding of a subject. It can offer readers deep insights into the interviewee’s perspective on important topics through the analysis of their responses. Whether you are applying for a role in journalism or want to become a better writer, knowing how to create an interview paper can improve your writing skills. In this article, we discuss how to write an interview paper, including researching and preparing for your essay.
An interview paper is an essay that provides different views on a topic or selection of subjects using evidence from interviewing one or more people. The most important distinction of an interview paper is that your sources are people, preferably authorities on a topic, instead of scholarly works or books on the subject.
Interview papers are common in the journalism industry. They allow readers to get quality information about important topics from qualified experts in the field. For example, an interview essay where you interviewed a psychologist specializing in mental health among elite athletes can offer in-depth insights into the situation of popular sports figures.
A well-written interview paper will speak directly to the reader and make them feel as if they are the one interviewing the expert. This makes it crucial to craft the interview in an engaging way. You also need to interview a knowledgeable person who can provide new information about the subject.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Profile Article
The person or subject of this type of article typically fits into a special niche of the magazine or has a new program or product to promote. Generally, her achievements, background, and personality are the focus of the article. So how do you get her personality and voice to come through in your writing? As with all types of writing, it can be a bit tricky, but you can follow some prescribed steps and refine them to your own style.
You’ll wrap up your interview either with a set of notes or a sound recording, but preferably both. It’s usually a bad idea to rely entirely on written notes, particularly in this day and age when you don’t have to. You’re likely to miss telling voice tones and possibly inferences if you’re so busy scribbling everything down that you’re not really listening.
Not only that, but you’re not engaging your target either. You’re busy jotting down the information you think you need—today, right now, before you’ve really begun fleshing out your profile. If you’re really listening to your subject as he speaks, you might be surprised at the questions that pop into your mind as you go along. If you’re curious about his answers, the odds are strong that your readers will be as well. Stay on your toes.
If you do take written notes, be sure to tidy up them up and double check any special spellings or names while the interview and the interviewee are still fresh in your mind. Otherwise, commit the entire interview to a recording. Then you can sit down later and listen and transcribe what was said. And you’ll always have the recording to refer back to if you later have questions.
Things to keep in mind when writing an interview article
1. Choose your questions wisely
This is probably one of the most important steps in the process of writing an interview article as it all starts with asking the right questions to the interviewee.
First, you will need to do a lot of research work and collect as much information as you can on the person you are going to interview. You can either read their biography, previous interviews or read about their current projects, interests and the list can go on. This will not only give you a solid background of the interviewee but will also make you aware of what has already been written, so that you can put a spotlight on some interesting and fresh information. No one wants to read the same facts about someone over and over again, this is why it’s best to find new topics to tackle. And speaking about topics, try to choose a focus topic for the interview. That being said, it’s not a rule you need to take literally, but it’s recommended you stick with a main topic so that you’re not all over the place with your questions. Choose an aspect of the interviewees life that is both remarkable and fits the interests of the reader. Or seek a certain topic worth discussing and develop some questions around it. You can always add a few extra questions still related to the main topic, but with a twist, maybe something unexpected that requires a more spontaneous answer to spice things up for the reader.
Tip: Select questions for interview that best fit your approach. Avoid typical interview questions and ask questions that are intriguing. For example, instead of asking, “How did you achieve your success in tennis?” ask, “They call you the ‘next Federer’ … what three qualities do you think you share with the Swiss tennis player?”
2. Structure of the article
Once you have narrowed down the questions you wish to address and have conducted the interview (here you can find a comprehensive guide on how to interview someone for an article), the next step is to actually write the article. Here is where you have endless options and can get your creative juices to flow in terms of how you wish to structure the article. If there isn’t a specific code you need to follow, I would say that these days there isn’t one winning rule. Most writers feel the need to post the picture, questions and answers in a logical sequence. Which is not bad, but then again chances are this makes for a rather boring interview article.
Also, make sure you have a strong start and ending as these are the pillars of your structure. Choose the most provocative questions and answers to be featured at the beginning and at the end so that this way you keep the interest of the reader from start to finish. Moreover, you can insert some of the main answers as quotes to break the article and make it less boring.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the actual interview might be full of half sentences, unspoken words or sudden changes of topic. To make the interview readable, you’ll have to rephrase most sentences. And when it comes to rephrasing, there’s a simple rule of thumb:
Nonetheless, try and make it attractive. Starting from the title and ending with the last answer, always keep in mind this: “How can I put things so that it’s appealing for the reader?” Look for the most interesting stuff and reorder the questions of the interview if needed so that you give readers the feeling that they have just read the story of a conversation and not a cold sharp interview. Add suggestive photos, insert quotes and let your emotions guide you. Remember, you’re in complete control at this point!
3. Magazine article interview examples to get inspired from
Finding it hard to be creative? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Luckily, if you’re stuck in a rut, there are plenty of magazine interview article examples on the Internet to draw inspiration from. I’ve selected a few of the ones that I have enjoyed reading, and remember, even if you’re probably never going to interview Adele or Brad Pitt, articles like this can plant an idea in your mind or awaken your creative buds. It can be anything from the title, the layout of the interview article, to the questions, the perspective from which it is written and so on.
Serena Williams’ interview for Vogue, as well as Adele’s one for Vanity Fair are some impressive articles that somehow manage to bring these big stars closer to the public by sharing some candid moments and information with the readers. Brad Pitt’s interview for GQ magazine is rather an interesting one since it’s a roller coaster of perspectives, questions, emotions and quite artistic pictures that altogether reveal a different side of the actor.