Have conversations that explore the topic: Interviewing tips at #CBAAConf

A group of current affairs producers and presenters spoke about their programs and gave interviewing tips during the CBAA Conference in Melbourne.

Lisa Daniel, the host and producer of Word for Word (Joy FM), Jiselle Hannah, the host and producer of Acccent on Women (3CR) and Anthony Dockrill, producer of Fourth Estate (2SER) gave tips on interviewing within the communtiy radio sector.

“Rather than interviewing for confrontation, have conversations that explore topics in a wide context,” said Dockrill, discussing how Fourth Estate is a neutral space because it is on community radio. “We have journos from the ABC and News Limited on together, talking sensibly together about issues, not just arguing for the sake of ideology or for the drama of it.”

“One of the things our program is able to do is to get voices from the community on air, people who have lived in the country, who understand the culture or issues, they can put things in a broader context,” said Hanna.

“For us it is about sharing multiple points of view and breaking down barriers so that our listeners can understand the issues better,” said Dockrill.

“It is important to be mindful of cultural issues that are required to get particular voices to air. For example the Armenian genocide, a lot of people in the community don’t want to take a public position on it,” said Hanna.

“In longer form interviews I have some idea of the person I am interviewing, such as where they grew up, school and career, but I don’t want to know too much because if you do too much research you are in danger of sticking too close to a script and may miss one fo the best moments,” said Daniel.

Other tips include:

There is power in silence, don’t always jump in to ask another question or fill the silence.

Treat the interview like a conversation, listen to what they said and respond to that.

For long interviews, try to pre-record it then tighten up by interviewing.

“If your pre-interview is too deeply the interview can seem stale because you’ve already heard the answers,” said Daniel, although Dockrill disagreed, saying that some prep is important, especially in live interviews.

Don’t be afraid to edit the interview or even not put it to air if there is a problem with it, it is offensive or is not what you want on the station.

If people laugh or cry you are really getting to the heart of the person.

Respect your talent by showing empathy and warmth, make eye contact, listen with compassion.

It is important to disagree if you do genuinely disagree, but do it respectfully, and if possible, tell them in advance that you are likely to disagree.

If someone is bad talent it’s better to find out in the pre-interview than when you are on air. Don’t use bad talen on air, find someone else.

In a later session, Nick Dunkerley (pictured above) from Hindenberg discussed technical tips for field recording, including to take care about background noise, use an external microphone and how the Hindenberg field recording app can be used by journos.

The Hindenberg app can be downloaded here.



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