What Makes a Good Interview

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Why is it that people enjoy watching and listening to specific interviewers like Anderson Cooper and Barbara Walters more than others? Many journalists who interview a specific person usually ask many of the same questions. So if interviewers ask almost all of the same questions, why is it that certain ones gain popularity? It is because reporters like Anderson Cooper and Barbara Walters obtain reflective answers and emotional responses from their interviewees that many of their peers are unable to obtain. How do they accomplish this? A good interview should never leave its audience wondering how the subject truly thought about something. Likewise, a good interviewer avoids this by injecting his/her own personality, opinions, and curiosities into the interview and through these is able to obtain a response from their subject that is more than just words. People enjoy watching the show “60 Minutes” because of how informative and how “emotionally charged” many of the interviewee’s responses are. The show’s reporters Mike Wallace and Morley Safer obtain these answers by infusing their personality, opinions, and curiosities on issues and forcing interviewees to step out of their comfort zones when answering their questions.

Kazuo Ishiguro is a man who understands the difficulty of being an interviewee. After writing many award winning novels such as The Remains of the Sanfield 2
Day and Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro said in an interview with Cynthia Wong, “It’s almost impossible to find the energy to treat each interview in a different way, to figure out what this person really wants to know, and to make [the encounter] a true meeting of the minds between interviewer and interviewee”(Ishiguro, Shaffer, and Wong 205). Most interviewees do not know what questions they are going to be asked and therefore when asked a question, do not initially know how they are going to answer it. The best interviewers are ones that get more than just words from their...
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