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Questioning, for good answers

What’s required in the Q&A format

As Q&A interviews are a staple of Breaker editions, I thought it would be useful for you to look at this interview, with Lauri Santos. Aiming for something along these lines.

Note the questions, which are informative and well-researched. This allows the interviewee (especially if it is an expert) to build on what’s already out there (rather than explain the basics). So, use the research that you read to phrase your questions (though it might be good to start them off explaining some basic aspects that the readers may not be familiar with, before you hit them with more thoughtful queries).

Secondly, note the exploratory nature of the Qs. These are not close-ended questions, but aimed at getting the interviewee to open up, expand, explain.

And, note the introduction. We will need 150 words at least (can be longer), which explains to the reader who the person is, and why what they say is important. This is particularly important for interviewees who might not be well-known. Newsworthiness, remember, should not be just about the ‘fame’ of a person, but more about what they can meaningfully contribute to a conversation. 

​​​​​​​Do check out this interview as well. And this one on Minnie Driver, from the Guardian. It’s more brutally succinct, and aligned to the ‘lifestyle style’ of interviewing, aiming for gut responses — and there’s learning there too, if you care, particularly in the way the questions are phrased.

See also Q&As from previous Breaker News Days: on fishing, on loneliness, on Ukraine.

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