Last Thursday, I attended a really thought-provoking event at the BBC Broadcasting House chaired by Charlie Burgess on ‘The Art of the Interview’.
What a contrast in the way people are interviewed for the different areas of journalism. It was a fascinating session and as many others in the audience said we could have carried on listening to the panel all day with all their stories.
The panel was made up of the acclaimed Mark Lawson, Camilla Long and Libby Purves who gave a really good insight into their world of journalism.
Camilla Long kicked off the morning, she is the chief interviewer of The Sunday Times. For an interview which usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour you need to have the art to probing for news worthy element. You need to be savvy with the questions and always listen to the answers. The important element is to make the person being interviewed comfortable and to choose the location carefully.
Then Mark Lawson took the stage, being in broadcast and presenter of ‘Front Row’ for BBC Radio 4. It was fascinating to learn the time restraints that they work with for an interview whether they have 60 seconds or 4 minutes and boy he had some stories to tell of interviewees who wouldn’t play ball. To hear them check out the link below to the pod cast. His tip was if you can pre-record it’s a good idea.
Then, last but by no means least it was Libby Purves who I have heard before at Henley Literary Festival. Libby has a vast experience being an author, columnist, the chief theatre critic for The Times and also a BBC 4 broadcaster. As I am astutely aware having done radio interviews on BBC Radio Berkshire they are in the real, in the moment and the person interviewing you will always put you at ease or their research assistant prior to going on air. Libby highlighted the three very important rules of thumb for an interview which I believe can be utilised in any field and they were:
- Listen to the answers to your questions (clarity)
- Remember it is not about you the interviewer but the interviewees so don’t be overpowering.
- Some things are none of our business and best left alone so know your boundaries.
So, if you want to hear this amazing session click on the following pod cast link as you will not be disappointed.