man on the street to be an expert, but it expects the
interviewer to be thoroughly knowledgeable of the
subject being discussed.
The information interview is the most common
form of interview used at NBS detachments. The
civilian broadcast equivalent is the public service
interview. Your subject maybe the chief master-at-arms
discussing local activities during Crime Prevention
Week or the MWR director talking about what activities
are planned at the recreation center. You might do an
interview with a physician for a health series or the CO
for your weekly captains call.
Whatever the topic may be, your goal during the
information interview is to inform the audience. You
should research the topic and prepare your questions
well in advance. You do not have to show your questions
to the interviewee before the program, but it helps if you
give your subject an idea of what you will ask This helps
you keep your topic on track during the interview.
As a Navy broadcaster, you may be assigned to
cover a wide range of adverse news situations. When
you conduct an interview in conjunction with an
accident or disaster, be sensitive to the feelings of others.
Be careful how you phrase your questions and watch
your tone of delivery. Use tact in finding out the five Ws
and H and double-check your facts. If you need
assistance in gathering the facts, consult your colleagues
in the public affairs office.
Another form of interview often assigned to Navy
broadcasters is the personality interview. In this case,
the person is important because of what happened to
him, what he has done or the position he holds. It may
be a timely feature story interview, a regular series or a
During the personality interview, you must be
versatile enough to make your delivery match the event.
You must be sensitive to the situation and not antagonize
the interviewee by making light of something he takes
Often, Navy broadcasters will be assigned to
interview famous recording artists, motion picture stars
or sports celebrities. Be aware that celebrities are
accustomed to being interviewed and are well-seasoned
at this art. If you are not careful, the celebrity you are
interviewing may try to run the show.
Again, the key to producing a good personality
interview is research. Read every available newspaper
or magazine article on your subject. Know about his
past, his rise to success, what he is doing now and his
plans for the future. Write intelligent and stimulating
questions. Personality subjects appreciate new material
and grow weary of answering the same questions time
and time again.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recognize the most
common interview methods.
What method should you use to conduct an
interview? The answer depends on the subject, time,
place and other intangibles that make each interview
In most circumstances, you will use one of the
following three interview methods to get the required
information for your program:
In the scripted interview, all the questions and
answers are prepared in advance and the interviewee(s)
simply read(s) the prepared text.
While certain high-ranking officers and officials
involved in sensitive or security areas may prefer this
method, the scripted interview must not sound like it is
being read. If it does, then the program becomes stilted
and the conversational aspect of the interview is lost.
Likewise, listeners or viewers will lose interest and tune
out the message you are trying to deliver.
Unless security or policy concerns dictate the use of
the scripted interview, you should avoid it.
The semi-scripted interview method is the best for
most interviews. With this interview, the interviewer
researches the subject and interviewee, discusses
possible questions in advance and perhaps even
rehearses the interview. This method provides an
excellent balance between the ad-lib (covered next) and
the fully scripted methods and is personal, yet focused.