Ms. Gokturk



The Interview Assignment: A Profile Story


You will team up with a classmate and conduct a series of three interviews on the topic: “____________________________________.” This topic is the starting point for your profile. As you conduct your three series interviews, you will note that other items may surface that may be more interesting. In this case, your focus will shift. Nevertheless, you should start with the topic and let the interview develop. The ultimate goal of your piece is to have a human interest feature story [a story that appeals to our emotions] that is interesting. You are not trying to include every item about the person.

In order to help you organize and conduct your interview, the following is an outline of what type of information you should be looking for in each interview. These topics should help you prepare the questions you will ask your subject.


Interview 1 – Focus Life History/Background.  Ask your subject to tell as much as possible about him/herself in light of the topic up to the present time. Ask your subject to reconstruct their earlier experiences in their families, in school, with friends, and  in their neighborhood. In asking your subject to put the topic in context of their life history, you are able to get more meaningful details.

This interview helps you get the really rough basics. However, you should first spend a few minutes “breaking the ice.” Get over the awkwardness of the task and make small talk. Lead into the topic… After you get your answers, you should look over your notes to help you focus on questions for Interview 2. [Interview will take place in class.] Types of questions:

·        Describe the setting and appearance of interviewee.

·        Background or demographic [Tell me about yourself…]

·        Reportorial [5w’s and 1 H]

·        Knowledge [What do you know about …]

·        Opinion or Value [What do you think about…]


Interview 2 – Details of the experience of specific events related to the topic. This interview will take place on the phone.

Using the information you unearthed in interview 1, zoom in on (a) specific event(s). The purpose of this interview is to focus on the details of the person’s experience in the topic area. Ask your subject to reconstruct the details, including their relationships with others. Types of questions:

·        Reportorial [ Who, What, Where, When, Why, How]

·        Feelings [What are your emotional reactions to …]

·        Sensory [What do you hear, see, smell, taste, when …]

·        Opinion or Value [What do you think about…]


Interview 3 – Reflections on experiences related to the topic. Subject is asked to reflect on the meaning of their experience. This addresses the intellectual and emotional connections between the subject and the topic. You have to have your subject look at how the factors in their lives interacted to bring them to their present situation,. It also requires that they look at their present. The combination of exploring the past to clarify the present forces the subject to reflect. This interview can only work if the first 2 interviews have succeeded. In addition, this is where you should ask where the subject would like to be in the future. By the time they have reached this question, it should have been relatively answered, but now you can have them reflect as to why this is their future goal.

This interview will be conducted in the class. Types of questions:

·        Describe the setting and appearance of interviewee

·        Experience or Behavior [What have you done/not done]

·        Opinion or Value [What do you think about…]

·        Hypothetical [If you were in…. situation then what would you …]

·        Devil’s Advocate [But what if that were not the case…]

·        Reflection [What do you think about where you are]


While you are interviewing your subject, you should take notes and/or tape the interview when possible. You will be asked to hand in your notes.