Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Identifying interesting interview angles & subjects

Interview, originally uploaded by smiling_da_vinci.
 It would be nice to have instant access to the most famous or obviously newsworthy people on any given subject we're writing. While it doesn't often work that way, freelance journalists can still dig up some interesting people to interview on any given subject. All you need is an angle.

Writing about a movie? Interview real life people who have been in a character's situation or worked in the portrayed profession. Talk to fans.

Political news breaking? Get the opinion of lesser known or retired politicians. Talk to the people who the news will affect. 

Big event? Look for the smaller story within the larger picture. Go after that interview. Here is an excellent recent example by freelance writer Marie Anne St. Jean: "Dogs of the Titanic: a Dozen Aboard, Three Survived."

Environmental questions? Talk to small companies or scientists making advancements or dealing with similar problems in the same field. 

Health epidemic? The CDC may not return your calls, but your local health experts might. 

Huge criminal trial? Get law experts and community members to weigh in.

University faculties offer a wealth of experts on any given topic. 

Don't be afraid to ask for the big interviews, but be prepared with backups. You may just find your most unique coverage comes from these. 

Have you had any interesting interview subjects?

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