I just got off the phone with a Columbia journalism student who was doing an industry profile for a class of hers and chose me for her interview subject. She said she came across the blog. Isn’t it weird the things that come through marketing? I do a lot of interviews for different blogs, web sites, newsletters and the like, and I have to say this was one of the best, well researched, most interesting. The first thing I really liked about it was that she called me rather than sending me an email form to fill out. Granted, the advantage of a form is that I can do it whenever I get a chance, but the disadvantage is that I have to double-check my spelling, type it all out and edit it. Certainly a phone interview is quicker.
The second thing I liked, and what impressed me most, was the student herself. Could I have possibly been that put-together, well-spoken, and professional when I was that age? Somehow I don’t think so, or at least I never felt I was. She really impressed me, and if journalism is her chosen profession, she’s done well. Her questions were well thought out and interesting and she flowed with the conversation rather than read off a list.
And she didn’t just ask me the typical questions about how I got started and what I represent. She also asked questions that really made me think. She asked what I read for pleasure, whether it was primarily the same types of books I represent, and she asked who I would represent if I could represent any author living or dead. Cool question. She asked how technology has changed publishing, if at all, and what kind of impact blogs have had.
It was the kind of interview that actually got me thinking and asking questions myself. It was what an interview should be. Thought-provoking for everyone. So for those of you giving interviews, and those of you being interviewed, it’s something to think about. It’s not just enough to get out there and ask or answer the questions. It’s your job to make the article actually interesting. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough and interesting questions and don’t be afraid to expand on your answers enough to really make the article interesting and different.