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2 tips when interviewing for audio stories

The basics of good interviewing apply to an audio story. But there are additional factors for audio narratives, especially if you’re planning to tell the story without the benefit of a reporter or narrator. Here are some tips for producing non-narrated stories:

Ask the person speaking to say their name and occupation in the form of a sentence. This serves several purposes.

  • You’ll probably need to lead the non-narrated piece with the introduction.
  • It will tell you how the person pronounces their name.
  • It becomes a great “labeling” scheme for your files. (It tells you what’s on the file in the first couple of seconds.)
  • It’s a good way to check the levels on your recording equipment. Capturing sound in the right volume range is probably the most important technical aspect of recording, especially with digital equipment. If the sound is too low, the background noise will be high. If it’s too high, the sound will “clip” or distort.

Ask the person to repeat the question with each answer they provide. Be vigilant about this. Answers such as “yes” and “to make it better” aren’t helpful when the question they address isn’t known.

Taken from Writing for the Ear, a self-directed course by Dan Grech at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager. She is the author of Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More – a self-directed e-learning course that consistently is ranked as one of the most popular courses at Poynter News University. Other work includes producing “Best Newspaper Writing,” the annual collection of the ASNE Distinguished Writing Award winners and finalists, and editing “Aim for the Heart,” a book by Poynter’s Al Tompkins for TV reporters and producers. You can follow her on Twitter at @vkrueger and @newsu.

(via Poynter)