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How to Request an Interview for a Story

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How to Request an Interview for a Story. When you're given your first journalism assignment that involves an interview, it's sometimes hard to know where to begin. That's especially true if you're called on to interview a public figure such as an athlete or celebrity. But though interviewing a public figure may seem more intimidating than asking your next-door neighbor for a quote, it can be relatively simple if you follow these steps.

Contact the media relations representative or department that handles press relations for your interviewee. These people can usually be reached by calling a general information line to their office, or the school if you're trying to reach an athlete. You can also do a simple search on the Internet to figure out who the media or community relations representative is for the person you'd like to interview.

Present yourself as a journalist to the media relations person. Tell him or her where you work. Give a brief overview of your story and ask if the person would be available for comment. Try to set up something face-to-face, because you can usually get a better interview if the person is looking right at you. If you can't get a sitdown, settle for a phone interview.

Set up a time and place for the interview. Tell the media relations person your deadline, but try to be flexible enough to work around your subject's schedule. Usually you need the interviewee more than they need you.

Mark the time and place on your calendar. Don't be late, as you don't want to start the interview off on the wrong foot.

Tip

Some media relations people require you to submit interview requests in writing. Make sure you set enough time aside in your day to get the most out of the interview.

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