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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gamel

Recording Your Interviews: An Excerpt From Write Like You Mean It

In January, a veteran journalist crafted a Twitter post telling other writers to stop recording most of their interviews. In her opinion, recording interviews with sources for your articles is both time-consuming and leads to an over-reliance on quotes.

She called it her #journalismtipoftheday.

Her tweet was met with wide-sweeping disagreement in the form of roughly 1,200 replies and nearly 2,500 quote tweets. I, too, respectfully disagreed. Recording your interviews:

  1. Ensures accuracy

  2. Allows you to actively listen to the person you're interviewing

  3. Avoids an over-reliance on note-taking during the interview

  4. Helps engage in the conversation

  5. Uncovers the real story

Trust me when I say there are more benefits than that.

I bring this up because the importance of recording your interviews is baked into a larger conversation on active listening and how to conduct a solid interview in Chapter 7 of my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word.

Here's a brief excerpt:

As you run interviews, don't be thinking about the next two or three questions you want to ask while the person is talking. You may not end up asking your preplanned questions in order. Focus on listening to what your interviewee is saying in the moment, and then ask follow-up questions that matter. You'll usually find that your initial questions organically pop up during the conversation. If it helps, using a recorder is better than trying to frantically write down every word someone says. It also allows you to focus more on having a conversation.

Listen, I didn't always know all the ins and outs of conducting an interview. It took years of practice, trial and error, and dedication to be at least a little bit better at it than I was the day before. And I'm still learning something new after all these years. But one tried and true method is recording your interviews.

Will there be scenarios where you should write something down rather than record it? Sure. But don't let anyone tell you using a recorder is time-consuming and not worth it.

How can you get your hands on Write Like You Mean It?

This book is for writers of all experience levels, genres, and professional pursuits. Whether you’re a journalist, college writer, aspiring freelancer, or future novelist, this book is for you, so you too can Write Like You Mean It!

Get your copy:

Thank you for reading!

*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX, and the author of Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.

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