Saturday, 31 March 2012


Culture does not produce one standard meaning. "Meanings migrate from one context to another, sometimes ending up very far from where they started - they are always getting displaced, diverted, reworked and exchanged. It is the very process of meaning.  The world has its own culture, countries have their own culture, cities have their own culture, and it is the influences within those boundaries which produce a culture. 

In today's society it is incredibly important to understand the way the media functions. The media not only provides information, it is a very powerful signifier of who we are as a whole, and has the ability to exert large amounts of influence. Therefore, it is important that we understand and are able to critically examine what is being fed to us every day and why. By analyzing the way power, representation and culture are at play we are able to gain a greater understanding of how the media functions, which subsequently enables us the discerningly evaluate its influence and content. Despite the fact that in the media, generally fall into the same category, the enormous range of titles do not contain the same content and target.

George Gerber, Dean &Prof. for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, founder of the Cultural Environment Movement, and champion of cultivation theory. He began the cultural indicators research in the mid 1960. He conduct a research to find whether and how watching television may influence viewers ideas in everyday life.

He focuses on his research in related to  four attitudes.
1.Chances of involvement with violence
2.Fear of walking alone at night—
3.Perceived activity of police—heavy viewers overestimate the size of law enforcement
4.General mistrust of people—heavy viewers are suspicious of others.

Findings of George Gerber
  • George Gerber argues that heavy television viewing creates an exaggerated belief in a scary world. Cultivation theory suggests heavy viewers will regard the world as more dangerous than light viewers. He argue that television has long term effect which are small, gradual , indirect  but cumulative and significance effect.
  • Gerber emphasizes the symbolic content of television drama. Television has belated religion as the key storyteller in our culture.  It is responsible for shaping or cultivation viewers conceptions of social reality.
  • Violence is television’s principal message, and particularly for devoted viewers. Gerber found that the portrayal of violence varies little from year to year. Over half of prime-time programs contain violence or the threat of violence. Two-thirds of the major characters are caught up in violence;  heroes are just as involved as villains.
  • Gerber argue that the mass media cultivate attitude and values which are already present in a culture. The media maintain and propagate these  values amongst members of culture thus binding together.  Old people, children, Hispanics, African Americans, women, and blue-collar workers are more often victimized.
  • Television places marginalized people in symbolic double jeopardy(risk) by simultaneously under representing and over victimizing them. Not surprisingly, marginalized people then exhibit the most fear of violence as a result of television programming.

Mainstreaming.  Gerber argue that media create  a mainstreaming effect among viewers.  A Mainstreaming is the process by which heavy viewers develop a commonality of outlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels). Gerber illustrates the mainstream effect by showing how television types blur economic and political distinctions.
·       The media content  assume that they are middle class.
·        They believe they are political moderates.
·        In fact, heavy viewers tend to be conservative.

Resonance. It means a intensified(exaggerated) effect create on the audience by television. Resonance occurs when repeated symbolic portrayals of violence cause viewers to replay their real-life experiences with violence over and over. Rather than focus on the few people who imitate television violence, Gerber wants to look at the large majority of people who are terrified by the world.

Medium Theory

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, a Canadian literary scholar, Marshall McLuhan, who had a profound understanding of electronic media and its impact on both popular culture and society. It is a analytical theory.

It analysis of media characteristics and the historical analysis of human perception. Popular media content includes television programming specially includes television programming are appear on the surface.  Multiple levels of meaning are often present and sophisticated content itself is ambiguous (vague meaning to their content). They will have a better chance to appealing to different audience. George Gerber distinguished media by the cognitive process each required. He stressed how channels differ not only in terms of their  content but also in regarded to how they awaken and alter thoughts and senses.

Medium theory focused on the medium characterization itself rather than on what it conveys or how information is received. In medium theory a medium is not only a news paper, Television, or the digital camera and so forth.  Rather it is the symbolic environment of any communicative act.  For instance the internet or blogs.

Assumption and declaration of McLuhan Theory regarding medium:
1.Changes in communication technology inevitably produce profound changes in both culture and society orders. 

2.McLuhan argued that technology inevitably cause specific changes in how people think, in how society is structured.

3.McLuhan proclaimed that the medium is the massage. In other words, new forms of media transform our experience of ourselves and our society. The medium is message. We live in message.  The content of new medium is  as old medium. This influence of new forms of media(TV, Internet) is ultimately more important than the content that is transmitted in its specific messages.

4. He suggested the term “global village”. It refers to the new form of social organization that would inevitably emerge electronic media tied the entire world into one great social, political and cultural system.

5. McLuhan proclaimed media to be the extension of the man. He argued that media quite literally extended sight, hearing and touch through time and space

McLuhan work became more accepted within the media industries. It aroused increasing criticism with in academia. The critics is found that his ideas to diverse and inconsistent.

it also have a opinion that, this thinking was no meaning no linear and logically inconsistent and random thoughts only.

His ideas were overly speculative and empirically unverifiable cultivation analysis.

The Frankfurt School & Critical Cultural theory

The most notable theorists connected with the Frankfurt School were Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer - all committed Marxists who were associated with the Institute for Social Research. They had founded in Frankfurt in 1923 but shifted in 1933 to New York due to II world war. The Frankfurt School in general was profoundly pessimistic about the mass media.

 In this approach cultural industry is completely influenced by media.  They criticized the media’s uniformity worship of technique, monotony, escapism and production of false needs. 

The cultural industry is the base of the quality of life. The view of Frankfurt school was anti capitalist, also anti American.

Critical cultural theory has extend the studies on the significance of media culture for the experience of particular groups in society such as youth, the working class ethnic minorities and other marginal categories.

The Frankfort School scholars claimed that

Mass culture is a debased form in capitalist society: According to Adorno a monopoly control over the production and distribution of culture. He saw the formula of media content and the creation of stars as evidence of this.

Mass culture is designed to produce fauls consciousness 

Mass Culture embodies a hegemonic ideology.

Adorno felt that the new cultural industry produced and maintained the authority of elite.

Cultural industry deceives us rather than enlightening us.

According to Adorno, Commodification is central process in cultural industry.

Mass art was merely a commodity to be sold, it designed to manipulate consumers through pre digested formulas and calculated effects rather than any concern for artistic form or truth content.

Adorno suggested  some change in cultural industry because it determine the quality of life. The Ideology can be decoded differently and even revised.  Popular culture can be distinguished from mass culture.

 A ideology is a set of common ideas occur in mind. Eg. To answer the question who am I ? Why am I? It is a concept, it involves commitment to a recognized position. There is three types of ideology. They are
Dominant ideologyOne which is held by most of the people and defines what is normal and right.

 Subordinate Ideology: Set of ideas that agree with dominant ideology

 Radical Ideology: Set of ideas that is in direct opposition to the dominant ideology.

          The aspect of ideology is visible in Mass communication. Newspapers and media which are owned by individuals or groups who subscribe to a particular ideology often adjust the content of their message accordingly. An ideology is a social phenomenon, it is a collection of beliefs that shared by the members of group.


Introduction: The core question of this theory is Why do people use media and what do they got use media for them. There exists a basic idea in this approach: audience members know media content, and which media they can use to meet their needs.

 It suggests that people’s needs influence what media they would choose, how they use certain media and what gratifications the media give them.  The approach emphasizes audiences’ reasons for using a certain media to the disregard of others. And the various gratifications obtained from the media, based on individual social and psychological requirements.
Origin and History - The Hypodermic Needle model, discusses that “the mass media have a direct, immediate and influential effect upon audiences by ‘injecting’ information into the consciousness of the masses”.  In these Uses & gratification studies, researchers discovered a list of functions served either by some specific content or by the medium itself. For instance, Television soap operas were found to satisfy their listeners with advice, support, or occasions for emotional; rather than just offering information. The newspaper was also discovered to be important to give readers a sense of security, shared topics of conversation and a structure to the daily routine
Uses and gratifications approach became prevailing in the 1970s and it was rediscovered during by Elihu Katz the structure of the approachElihu Katz is served both as a sociologist and as a communication researcher. They also discovered that media served the functions of surveillance, correlation, entertainment and cultural transmission for both society and individuals.
Five basic assumptions
1.The audience is conceived as active: i.e., an important part of mass media use is assumed to be goal oriented.  Patterns of media use are shaped by more or less definite expectations of what certain kinds of content have to offer the audience member.

2. Audience gratification: In the mass communication process, much initiative connected with the need and  gratification of audience and the media choice lies with the audience member. 

3. Depend on Audience response: People are sufficiently self-aware to be able to report their interests and motives in particular cases, or at least to recognize them when confronted with them in an intelligible and familiar verbal formulation.

4. Culture of Audience: The cultural significance of audience also influences the gratification and need of mass communication. Different people can use the same communication message for very different purposes. The same media content may gratify different needs for different individuals. There is not only one way that people uses media; contrarily, there are as many reasons for using the media as their basic needs, social situation, and the individual’s background, such as experience, interests, and education, affect people’s ideas about what they want from media and which media best meet their needs. That is, audience members are aware of and can state their own motives and gratifications for using different media.
McQuail’s (1983) classification of the following common reasons for media use:
Information: finding out about relevant events and conditions in immediate surroundings, society and the world ,seeking advice on practical matters or opinion and decision choices ,satisfying curiosity and general interest ,learning; self-education ,gaining a sense of security through knowledge. 

Personal Identity : People use the media to finding reinforcement for personal values ,finding models of behavior ,identifying with valued others (in the media) ,gaining insight into oneself.
Integration and Social Interaction: The main gratification the uses of media is  gaining insight into the circumstances of others; social empathy, identifying with others and gaining a sense of belonging, finding a basis for conversation and social interaction, having a substitute for real-life companionship, helping to carry out social roles, enabling one to connect with family, friends and society. 

Entertainment: The one of the main media content usage is escaping, or being diverted, from problems, relaxing, getting intrinsic cultural or aesthetic enjoyment, filling time, emotional release, sexual arousal.
Criticisms of Uses and Gratifications Research 

Although uses and gratifications approach holds a significant status in communication research, the research of the approach receives criticisms both on its theory and methodology represented.  McQuail (1994) commented that the approach has not provided much successful prediction or casual explanation of media choice and use.
The researchers criticized uses and gratifications approach in such three aspects:

1.It is highly individualistic, taking into account only the individual psychological gratification derived from individual media use. The social context of the media use tends to be ignored. This overlooks the fact that some media use may have nothing to do with the pursuit of gratification - it may be forced upon us for example.

2.There is relatively little attention paid to media content, researchers attending to why people use the media, but less to what meanings they actually get out of their media use.

3. The approach starts from the view that the media Uses and gratifications research focus on the fact relied heavily on self-reports. Self-reports, however, are based on personal memory which can be problematic. As such, the respondents might inaccurately recall how they behave in media use and thus bend might occur in the study.

Theories of Human –Media interaction Agenda Setting Theory

Meaning of Media

Mass communication occurs when a small number of people send messages to a large anonymous and heterogeneous audience through the use of specialized communication media. Otherwise the mass communication represents the creation and sending of a homogeneous message to a large heterogeneous audience through the media.  The units of analysis for mass communication are messages, the medium and the audience. The mass communication theories are   which explain the relationship between media and society.

Agenda setting theory

Agenda setting theory propounded by Maxwell Mc combs and Donald Shaw in the year 1970s. According to agenda setting theory, mass media set the agenda for public opinion by highlighting certain issues. The agenda setting theory telling people not what to think, but what to think of. 

Media focuses on the characters of issues how people should think about.
Agenda setting theory used in political ad, campaigns, business news, PR (public relation) etc.The main effects of the news media are to be agenda setting.  It is usually referred as a function of mass media and not a theory.  The basic ideas of the theory can be to the work of Walter Lippman a prominent American Journalist.

 Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was the most influential American journalist of the 20th century. the influence his writings had, especially his newspaper column “Today and Tomorrow,” on the American public for over 60 years and including his access to and involvement with many of the presidents, politicians, and power brokers he covered from World War I through Vietnam.  Born into one of the German-Jewish "our crowd" families of New York City,  In the 1920s, Lippmann became editorial director of the New York World, then a major daily newspaper with a Democratic orientation. Lippmann wrote books on philosophy, politics, foreign policy and economics. Among his varied roles, Lippmann was the original and most prescient analyst of the modern media  Lippmann was the first to bring the phrase "cold war" to common currency in his 1947 book by the same name. Lippmann saw the purpose of journalism as "intelligence work". Within this role, journalists are a link between policymakers and the public. A journalist seeks facts from policymakers which he then transmits to citizens who form a public opinion. Though a journalist himself, he did not assume that news and truth are synonymous.  He argued that distorted information was inherent in the human mind Lippmann was an informal adviser to several presidents. he won the annual Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting citing "his 1961 interview with Soviet Premier Khrushchev. Lippmann retired from his syndicated column in 1967, and died in 1974. He  has been honored by the United States Postal Service with a 6¢ Great Americans series postage stamp. Lippmann proposed that people did not respond directly to the events in the real world but lived in a pseudo environment, media furnishing the pseudo environment.

The media agenda setting function is a three process
  • Media agenda: issues discussed in the media
  • Public agenda: issues discussed and personally relevant to the public
  • Policy agenda: Issues that policy makers consider important

Agenda setting is believed to occur because the press must be selective in reporting the news. News outlets act as gatekeepers of information and make choices about what to report and what not

The main concept associated with the agenda setting theory is gate keepingPriming and framing

Gate keeping controls over the selection of content discussed in the media. It is especially editors media itself is a gatekeeper. News media decides ‘what’ events to admit through media ‘gates’ on ground of ‘newsworthiness’.For e.g.: News Comes from various sources, editors choose what should appear and what should not that’s why they are called as gatekeepers.

Priming: Activity of the media in proposing the values and standards by which objects of the media attention can be judged. Media’s content will provide a lot of time and space to certain issues, making it more vivid.To say in simple words, Media is giving utmost importance to a news so that it gives people the impression that is the most important information. This is done everyday the particular news is carried as a heading or covered everyday for months. Headlines, Special news features, discussions, expert opinions are used. Media primes a news by repeating the news and giving it more importance E.g. Nuclear deal., Kudankuam, Mullaiperiyar issue.

Framing:Framing is a process of selective control

  1. Way in which news content is typically shaped and contextualized within same frame of reference.
  2. Audience adopts the frames of reference and to see the world in a similar way. It is how people attach importance to a news and perceive it context within which an issue is viewed.
Framing talks about how people attach importance to certain news for e.g. in case of attack, defeat, win and loss, how the media frames the news such that people perceive it in a different way.
We can take India and Pakistan war; same happening is framed in different ways in both the countries. So depending on which media you view your perception will differ.

Advantage /Positive Effects
Media plays a more vital role.
It gives us serious topics detrimental to politicians and other public figures.
It gives us information that is going on its our local communities and across the globe.
It gives a chance to know more about our loved ones.
 It give a way to well being of our freedom and to gather general information.

Negative Side
The information are getting is biased
It does not allow for us to select what we feel is important.

A case: A German Journalist: The European Media Writing Pro-US Stories Under CIA Pressure

Post Categories: Afghanistan RT | Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 13:10 Beijing
German journalist and editor Udo Ulfkotte says he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, adding that noncompliance ran the risk of being fired.
“I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service,” Ulfkotte told Russia Insider. “One day the BND (German foreign intelligence agency) came to my office at the Frankfurter Allgemeine in Frankfurt. They wanted me to write an article about Libya and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi…They gave me all this secret information and they just wanted me to sign the article with my name,” Ulfkotte told RT.
“That article was how Gaddafi tried to secretly build a poison gas factory. It was a story that was printed worldwide two days later.”
Ulfkotte reveals all this and more in his book ‘Bought Journalists,’ where he mentions that he feels ashamed for what he has done in the past.
“It is not right what I have done in the past. To manipulate people, to make propaganda. And it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray people not only in Germany, but all over Europe,” he told RT. “I was a journalist for 25 years and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.”
 “I was bribed by the Americans not to report  exactly the truth…I was invited by the German Marshall Fund of the United States to travel to the US. They paid for all my expenses and put me in contact with Americans they’d like me to meet,” he said.
“I became an honorary citizen of the state of Oklahoma in the US just because I wrote pro-American. I was supported by the CIA. I have helped them in several situations and I feel ashamed for that too.”Many other journalists are involved in the same practice, Ulfkotte added.
“Most of the journalists you see in foreign countries, they claim to be journalists and they might be. But many of them, like me in the past, are so-called ‘non-official cover.’ It means you work for an intelligence agency, you help them if they want you to. But they will never say they know you.”

The journalists selected for such jobs usually come from big media organizations. The relationship with the secret service starts as a friendship.


Features of New Media/ Differences Between New And Old Media / Key characteristics  

The phrase new media was first used in the 1960’s. New media are digital form such as chip, CD converted from analogue media(film, cosset). Their fundamental characteristics are free and unlimited access to data and its copying without losing quality and interactivity. The means of transmission  by cable, satellite and radio have immensely increased the capacity to transmit by applying communication technology.
According to McQuail, the ‘Internet’ should definitely be considered a new medium. The Internet is associated with new media, in contrast to traditional media.  It is used for production and broadcasting of news, but also for processing exchange and storing of information. The internet and other new media can used for both private and public communication and their functioning does not have to be professional or organized in a bureaucratic way as is the cast with traditional mass media.  The internet is the only truly free and autonomous medium which allows anyone to articulate their needs and express their objections.

Uniqueness: Some media forms are now distributed across different type of transmission channel reducing the original uniqueness of form and experience in use.

Convergence: The increasing convergence of different media by use of technology.  Globalizing tendencies are raised and reducing the distinctiveness of any particular national variant of media content and institution. The continuing treads towards integration of national and global media corporations, have led to the housing of different media under the same roof, encouraging convergence by another route.

New Media as a medium: Not only concerned with the production and distribution of messages but equally concerned with processing, exchange and storage. As much an institution of private as of public communication and regulated or not regulated accordingly. Their operation is not typically professional or bureaucratically organized to the same degree as mass media.

Authors: There are increased opportunities through Internet Desktop Publishing, Blogging etc. The traditional publication function of gate keeping, editorial intervention and validation of authorship will not be affected here.

Publishers: Opportunities for self expression are celebrated by the new media. The role as a publisher became easy and sophisticated function through social net work sites even it has become more ambiguous

Interactivity: Traditional media was essentially one directional while the new media are interactive. The interactivity possible through various tools such as comments box or mailing , chatting etc

Social Presence: Sociability experienced by the user, the sense of personal contact with others that can be engendered by using this new medium Example:skype

Media richness: the extent to which media can bridge different frames of reference, reduce ambiguity, provide more cues, involve more senses and more personal.

Autonomy: The degree to which a user feels in control of content and use. The technologies shift power from elite group to a greater proportion of media user’s content. Anyone can produce content through new media.

Playfulness: It is one of the main characteristics of new media of its uses for entertainment and enjoyment as against utility and instrumentality.

Privacy: associated with use of medium and its typical or chosen content

Personalization : The degree to which content and uses are person and with their uniqueness

Categories of New Media

Interpersonal communication media: Content   is private and perishable and the relationship established and reinforced may be more important than information conveyed. For example email, comment box

Interactive play media Play: These are mainly computer based and video games plus virtual reality devices. For ex:Video games

Information Search media : This is wide category besides the content the mobile  telephone is also increasingly a channel for information retrieved. Example WWW-World wide web

Collective participatory media- The categories includes especially the uses of the internet for sharing and exchanging information, ideas, and experience and developing active personal relationship.  For ex: Face book and social websites.

Friday, 30 March 2012



While radio has sound, television content includes both sound and visuals. This audio visual character of television makes it a magic medium which allows us to watch the world from our drawing rooms. This powerful visual nature helps television to create vivid impressions in our minds which in turn leads to emotional involvement. The audio visual quality also makes television images more memorable.

To watch television, we need not leave your drawing room. No need of going to the movie theater or buying tickets. We can watch television in the comfort of our home with our family. This is why television is generally regarded as a domestic medium. It provides entertainment and information right inside our homes and has become an integral part of our everyday lives. It can actually pattern our daily activities. Even our family makes it a point to watch their favorite serial at a particular time and adjust dinner timings accordingly. This domestic nature of television influences the content also. We have noticed that a newspaper report has an impersonal tone, whereas the television anchor addresses us directly.  The domestic nature of television makes it an intimate medium. This makes the viewers experience a sense of closeness to the Television.
The important characteristic of television is that it is capable of being a live medium. This is because the live nature of television allows it to transmit visuals and information almost instantly. The visuals of an earthquake in Indonesia can reach our television set in almost no time. This capacity of the medium makes it ideal for transmitting live visuals of news and sports events. If we are watching a cricket match in a television channel, we can almost instantly see the wicket hit by our favourite player. On the  Television allows you to witness events which happen thousands of miles away.

All of us know that there are a large number of people who cannot read or write.
Such people may not be able to read a newspaper, but they can watch television.
Anyone with a television receiver can access the information shown on television.
This makes it an ideal medium to transmit messages to a large audience. In a country like ours, with a huge illiterate population, this characteristic of television
Makes it an ideal instrument for transmitting social messages. Television also has a
very wide output, range and reach. It is truly a mass medium.

Television programmes are not easy to be recorded by viewers. It may be practically impossible to record every programme which appears on your television. Therefore, television is generally identified as a transitory medium.

There is need to large amount of machinery and expertise needed to run a television station. We can write articles and stories and draw our own pictures. All we need will be paper, pen, drawing instruments and time. However, a television programme can never be made this. However, a television programme can never be made this easily. It requires lots of money, machinery and experienced people. Broadcast media in general and television in particular involves complex technology and organization. We will need crores of rupees to start a television station.

Television Interviews.

Conduct your interview in an organized, timely manner. During the interview:

As a TV News and Current Affairs journalist, we will do three types of interviews.
1. Interviews for stories – sound bites for packages or news clips
2. Face to Face interviews
3. 2 way- interviews as a correspondent to a presenter

Before going into these categories, here are some common fundamentals.
Before the interview
• Choose a focus for the interview. What’s the story?
• Choose the interview carefully. Look for a real person, not just a spokesperson. You want the person most closely involved, whatever their position as it is easier for the audience to relate to someone who has direct knowledge or experience of a subject. These people will also give fuller, more personal responses.
• Resist as much as possible conditions set by the interviewee such as providing questions in writing in advance, not editing the interview and letting him/her listen back to the interview and retract anything he/she does not like.
• Discourage anonymous contributors. Unless being identified would jeopardize their personal safety or be against the law.
• Research the interviewee. Before you go out and while interviewing. This will make you confident and focused.
• Prepare yourself. Write a few key words to remind you of the subjects you want to cover.
• Prepare the interviewee. Explain what the interview is for. If all you need is a short sound bite you don’t need to record a long properly structured interview. However don’t leave until you have a sound bite which captures the essence of the what the interviewee is saying, is no longer than 20 seconds and self-contained.
• Check location. Think about the visual and audio backdrop
• Assess risks to yourself and the interviewee. 
  • Research, research, research. Then research some more. The only way to come up with good questions is to know everything there is to know about your subject.
  •  Contact the person you wish to interview. Ask when a good time would be to do the interview. Be polite! Say "please" and "thank you." Try to set up the interview in person. If this isn't possible, then set up a phone interview.
  •  Read over your research and brainstorm a list of 15 questions. The more specific your questions are, the better! And never ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Make your interviewee talk!
  • Be sure to write all your questions down in a notebook, then practice asking them with a partner. Become very familiar with your questions before you go into the interview.
  • Come prepared with:
    • A pencil
    • A notebook
    • A list of good questions
    • A recording device (always ask permission before recording an interview)

During the interview
• Have an outline in your head or on paper.
• Put questions clearly, concisely and pertinently
• Check for jargon
• Listen to the interviewee and react. Use body language when you want to interrupt.
• Make sure your questions are specific. Asking a very general question invites the interviewee to ramble on so instead of “what’s the government doing wrong?” ask which government policy would you change first if you came to power?”
One of the hardest skills for a young reporter to master is interviewing. It takes preparation and persistence to conduct a good interview. Follow these steps and learn how to interview like a pro!
fore recording an interview)

 Be on time! Arrive at your interview with plenty of time to spare. If you’ve never been to the place where your interview is taking place, go early and scout it out. There is nothing more unprofessional than a reporter who is late.
You can also use the time you are waiting to make notes about the surroundings. You won’t remember details later, so write them down.

  • Be courteous to your subject.
  • Always take time to ask for an explanation about things you don't understand.
  • Don’t be afraid of uncomfortable silences and pauses.
  • Let the interview take its natural course.
  • Look the person in the eye when asking questions.
  • Always listen carefully to the answers. Each answer could lead to more questions or include an answer to a question you haven’t asked yet. Don't ask a question that has already been answered. Your subject will know you weren't listening and be insulted.
  • Don't read through your questions one right after another like you can't wait to be finished. Conduct your interview like a conversation. One question should lead naturally into another. If you are LISTENING to the answers this will come naturally!
  • Also, take notes on what the person looked like, what the person was wearing, where he or she sat. If the interview is in an office, make notes of what is on the walls and on the desk. The objects people surround themselves with hold important clues to their personalities. Ask about any object that interests you. You’ll find some good stories!  
Even if you are recording an interview, take notes. Don't try to write every word said. It will show down the interview. Just take down the highlights.
After the interview, while the details are still fresh in your mind, write everything down you can remember about the person you interviewed. Don’t forget to make note of the sounds in the background. Take not of what was happening around you. Write it all down as soon as possible.
At home, expand your notes by following up on things you learned in your interview with more research!
Review your research and your interview notes. Circle or highlight quotations that you think will be good for your article.