While many newspaper articles recount details of events, some are focused on prominent individuals. Composing an interview biography article requires different skills than those used to write a standard news piece. Because these pieces are often more creative in nature, writers can take more liberties in their format and content. When writing an article of this type, focus on imparting information about the subject and allowing the article to both convey the featured individual's importance and reflect his personality.
- Skill level:
Compose questions. Create a comprehensive list of questions prior to conducting your interview. Select questions that focus on a variety of topics to ensure that your questioning results in a clear picture of the individual and his interest and values. If any topics are off limits, avoid these issues as you do not want to insult or offend the interviewee.
Conduct the interview. Move through your prepared questions systematically. If more questions arise as a result of the subject's answers to prepared questions, pose these unplanned questions and dig deeper to uncover more interesting information.
Record the interview. If possible, create a standard or digital recording of the actual interview to ensure that you have an accurate account of all responses. If recording is not possible, take thorough notes.
Select an attention getting lead. Your lead draws readers into your piece and entices them to continue to read to learn more about the subject. Place a titbit of exciting information at the front of your story to captivate your audience.
Compose an introduction. Write a paragraph, beginning with your lead, that introduces your subject and explains why he is worthy of study. Particularly, aim to explain why he is important to individuals in your community as those people will likely be your readers.
Include the date, time and location of the interview. Place this information in the introduction, or immediately before you move into the interview portion of your article. You can either list the information, or include it anecdotally, explaining in sentence form when and where you met the individual.
Select a format. Either list each question and follow them with the interviewee's responses, or condense the interview and write your article in narrative form. When writing in narrative form, you can take more liberties in article structure and compose a more creative final product than you would if you were simply writing a question and answer list.
Include accurate quotations. Minor changes to quotes are a big deal. Be very careful to record the interviewee's statements word-for-word to ensure that you are being fair in your reporting.
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