"E-mail Interviews
You're never really sure who is answering your message." - Ch. 4, The Student Newspaper Survival Guide by Rachele Kanigel, p. 33

This could be true with phone interviews if you've never met the person or if you just don't remember the sound of their voice. It can also be true of face-to-face interviews if the person is pretending to be someone they're not. No method of interviewing is full proof.

"You can't ask spontaneous questions... Reponses can be stilted or carefully crafted."

These are only important if the article your writing is particularly controversial or delicate in nature. Besides, you can ask follow-up questions and you can ask them in a way that tries to get an answer that isn't PR.


I only once conducted interviews by email. Yes, it was convienient and the article was finished the day it was assigned. However, I have found that some people would rather put a face to their interviewer. They want to know precisely who they are talking to. I've even had people ask me to take notes instead of recording the interview. It's just interview preference, I guess. I like having a recording so that there is little to no chance of me misquoting the person.

I remember a telephone interview I conducted for my internship with a Pittsburgh entrepreneur. I was sitting at my computer typing frivolously while wearing my bluetooth and at one point I said, "forgive me if I'm not responding (with the usual uh-huh mm-hmm's), I'm typing everything you're saying."

She let out a good laugh and said, "Oh honey, I know, I hear you're little fingers goin'!"

Haha, I'll never forget it.

Agreed. You will never know if someone is lying or telling the truth. Interviewing has its flaws. Especially email interviews. They can be kids messing around on their parent's computer, typing whatever. I have seen some funny interviews from the Howard Stern Show.

Kayla, were you the one who interviewed the fake Guy Rabich?

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 4, 2008 12:05 PM.

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