Before agreeing to an interview, you should interview the interviewer. Learn as much as possible about the story they’re working on, as you’ll be able to prepare for the interview with greater precision as you learn more about it. Most journalists are willing to share at least the basics about the stories they’re working on, and some are willing to go into great detail about their stories.
Here are nine questions you should ask before every interview:
1. What’s your name? I know, that one’s obvious, but I’ve seen people forget to ask. Also ask reporters which news organization they work for and whether they cover a particular topic.
2. Can you tell me about the story you’re working on? Keep this question open-ended and remain quiet while the reporter talks (the more they talk, the more you’ll learn). Feel free to ask follow-up questions and to clarify any points you don’t fully understand.
3. Are you approaching this story from any particular perspective? Some reporters bristle when you ask, “What’s your angle?” directly, so this question tries to get the same information in a slightly more subtle manner.