Part II: Help Me With Interviewing

We asked ASB staffer Mehleena Edmonds to submit a series of blogs over the next few weeks, all to be written from a broadcast student's perspective. It should be good food for thought as teachers consider how to handle the difficult decision of when to show, and when to tell, when it comes to training inexperienced young broadcasters.

Help Me With Interviewing

From lots of personal experience, this is an area that is the most intimidating for students, because it can mean interaction with adults, strangers or peers without a teacher “safety net.” Depending on your program, it may differ some, but in general, talking to other people can be a harder than young reporters expect.

Urge your students to ask open-ended questions and avoid “stacking” a laundry list of questions. This will help the interviewee feel more comfortable, because a conversation can take place, not just a question/answer/question/answer grilling using those prepared questions.


It may be helpful to create a “cheat-sheet” of questions for your young reporters in case they freeze during the interview. It happens. If they have three or four questions they can fall back on, it can help get them out of an awkward silence. Instead of full questions, you could even suggest they just jot down some key words or phrases. Of course, teaching them to "let silence happen" intentionally is an advanced technique. I am talking about preventing those silent seconds that seem like hours when the reporter loses the train of thought.

Later in the edit bay they will especially grasp the importance of a solid interview. When they catch on to the idea of letting the person they are interviewing provide the emotion of the story, your students will start asking deeper questions that provide better answers, and more to work with when editing and writing the final piece.


Brandon Goodwin

Based in Springfield, Missouri, his video production work has taken him to four continents, a dozen countries and well over half the United States. Brandon has a decade's experience collaborating on projects of all shapes and sizes with a variety of clients, including record labels, non-profits, and advertising agencies. Recently Brandon worked as DP & Editor for the documentary, "Linotype: The Film". He has been on the ASB staff for seven years, and provides training in shooting, editing, writing, and interviewing. He is also the voice of the "Video Coach" series of training discs. He lives in Springfield with his wife Morgan and dog, Peter.