Interviews are an integral part of article writing. An article won’t survive the sniff test if it doesn’t have a few quotes and information provided by an outside source. I’m still a firm believer that the best interview is the face-to-face interview. Sharing the same space with your source, seeing facial expressions, hand gestures, etc. is priceless, but most writers can’t travel around the world to interview sources so phone and emails help get the job done. There is a big difference between the two and writers should be aware of the pros and cons of both when setting up interviews with their sources.
Email Interview Pros
- Quick and convenient for both the interviewer and source. Email interviews allow writers to shoot off their questions and move on to their next project while giving sources the opportunity to answer at their leisure.
- Easy record keeping. Using email gives you a ready-made record of the interview for future reference.
- Cure for cold feet. Writers are notoriously shy when it comes to interviewing sources whether in person or over the phone. Email helps eliminate that problem.
Email Interview Cons
- Loss of spontaneity. Some of the best moments in an interview come from being in the moment with the source and you lose that through email. When responding to email questions, your source can reread what they wrote and even forward it on to others to make sure they are saying the ‘right’ things.
- Loss of identity. Many writers assume when they email questions to a source the source is the one answering. Often, the questions may be answered by a source, PR person or the source’s boss or assistant. You are never guaranteed the source is the one responding.
- Loss of experience. Using email as the main source of interviews stunts your growth as a writer. While many writers view the interviewing process as a necessary evil, it really does help you grow each time you engage a source.
Emails Interviews vs. Phone Interviews Part 2 to come on Saturday!