Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

It’s About the Story, not the Calendar

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I just heard Robin Young of the PRI program Here and Now interview Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band, Heart.  She interviewed them in October 2012 and replayed the interview because of their recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  This again, speaks to the necessity of a good interviewer knowing how to conduct a good interview.  Ms. Young was able to remind listeners of why Heart made it into the Hall of Fame with a six-month old interview because her questions were essentially timeless.

She asked Ann and Nancy about their relationship as sisters and got them to talk about the strong roots of their military family.  She asked them about the timeless notoriousness of the record industry and they talked about their hit, “Barracuda.”  And she asked them about trials outside of the band that orbited the band, like their fiasco with Annie Lebowitz, and about other work, like decades of film scoring.

That’s why a good interview has no expiration date, because it’s not about events as much as it’s about people.  And even if the people change between when you last talked to them and when you next talk to them, they’ll probably be glad to update you on the changes, which only makes the conversation more true to what it means to be human, which is why people listen to interviews anyway.

Good job, Ms. Young.

Written by Interviewer

April 24, 2013 at 00:17

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