“If you make it like a conversation, you’ll get much more out of the source, whether it’s a celebrity or not,” Wojciechowski said. “When folks are relaxed, they open up, and tell you more. This always makes for better interviews for both stories as well as Q&As.”
Triple-check your recording device or software
Like all the freelancers I interviewed for this piece, I record Q&As to ensure accuracy. The problem is—as anyone experienced in Q&As knows—recording technology can be frustratingly finicky.
High-powered executives or entertainers are often short on time, so if your audio recorder malfunctions, isn’t positioned correctly, or runs out of memory, you may not get a do-over. That’s why Keller stressed the importance of always testing your recording device or software before the interview.
“Even though I’ve done dozens of these things, I still have lost interviews to static,” he said. “If it really looks like it’s not working, I interrupt the interview and say, ‘Hey, I’ll call you back.’”
It’s also important to double-check transcripts if you use a transcription service like Rev. Liebman transcribes the recordings herself because that helps her review the material, but if you’re like me or the other freelancers I interviewed who use transcription services, you shouldn’t trust that these services will get everything right. If something seems fishy, it’s better to check before you submit the article then after your source sends an angry email to your editor.