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Understand Interview Purposes And Techniques English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2812 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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There are several different interviewing techniques and styling depending on what kind of audience you are trying to target within the interview of the broadcast. Two very different types of interviews are “Hard News” and “Light-hearted”. Hard news is very serious with interviews made up with a mixture of closed and open questions get direct answers from the subject being interviewed. Whereas “Light-Hearted” is normally a laid back and calm type of interview where the interviewer and the subject are more or less having a conversation in order to gets the information. Hard News, Combative, Light-Hearted, Entertainment, Investigative and Promotional are all different types of interview styling.

Hard News.

A hard news style interview would usually involve a serious subject matter such as crime, war, politics, and some economically problems these are presented in a formal manner and is the style that news broadcast such as BBC News and ITV news typically use as it stories that their audience find interesting and listen to in order to be educated about current affairs.

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The interviewers approach to their interviewee during Hard News would be very serious, it will not be light-hearted or be humorous in anyway. The interviewer tactics are to get direct and clear answers and to produce them as swiftly as possible from the interviewee has the subject matter of the stories are serious, e.g. crimes and war, are therefore isn’t a subjects that should be approached in a light-hearted manner. The interviewer would also be very confrontationally during these types of interviews towards the interviewee as to get a direct answer and often may end up in a disagreement between the two.

The type of question used in Hard News are often ‘suggestive’ as to get clear answers from the interviewee but in most cases ‘open’ style questions may be used so that the interviewee can give a more detailed answers than a ‘closed’ question. ‘Suggestive’ questions are used has with Hard News its about educating, so people often already know the answers, therefore using a ‘suggestive’ style question will cause the interviewee expanding on their answer and giving the audience a better understanding.

The purpose of a hard news style interview is to increase the audiences’ knowledge on the subject, and to elaborate about what’s going on, it allows the audiences get a better understanding into the situation. This is often the reason why people watch the news in order to be educated.

The structuring of Hard News programs start of with announcing the headliners first. These stories would often be reminded repeatedly in order to keep the audiences’ attention. Smaller stories and sound bites are then shown after the headliners which may not be considers as important or may be a continuation from a previous headliner, they are recorded beforehand to be included in the report. A round up of all the stories is shown after that a ‘Feel good’ story is then used towards the end in order to leave viewers in a more pleasant mood as the main subjects of Hard News interviews and programs can be quite depressing and it is important to make the viewer leave knowing that the situation in all bad. An example of a ‘feel good’ story would be something a viewer would be able to smile to such as a possible discovery to a cure or maybe a person being rewarded for going something remarkable.

An example of hard news is Jeremy Paxman interviews on Newsnight during these interviews you see him always take an interest and ask ‘open’ and ‘suggestive’ question in order to get a more detailed answer.


A combative style interview would normally consist of the interviewer being very hostile towards the interviewee this caused the interview ending up in the direction of a heated argument made up from disagreement between the two. Body language is very important during this type of interview as it helps to get their point across much faster and it show how one reacts under a stressful situation.

During a Combative style interview the interviewer will approach the interviewee in a confrontational and challenging manner with their question in order to make the interviewee angry but this emotional can come naturally with this type of interviews due to the constant pressing and rudeness directed towards them.

Combative interviews are about getting the answers, which is why the type of question is often direct and to the point. The interview would often contain ‘open’ questions but in some cases the interviewee would use this to their advantage and begin to stray from the question, at this point a closed question would be asked in order to produce a single answers and can shut down further talk. Doing this also helps in trying to heat up the discussion as it can be seen as impolite asking a open question then interrupting the interviewee and asking a closed question. In some cases the questions can be ‘suggestive,’ as the audience already know what had occurred but want the interviewee to admit to doing it.

The purpose of combative interviews is to let the audience get an understanding of a situation, learn more about it and then provide their own views. This can be because of a number of reasons such as them being concerned or even angry with the interviewee and want to get answers has to why it happened.

The structure of a combative interview is very important has it is to get direct answers, so questions are often prepared beforehand so that the interviewer can keep the discussion on topic. They don’t go straight into disagreement it first starts with introduction of the guest so that the audience knows who they are and what they stand for. Very little arguments are at the start of the interview as it later develops to a point where it will become heated until the interviewer and the interviewee are in disagreement.

An example of a combative interview would be Anne Robinson interviewing people on Watchdog (http://youtu.be/ivOxiS7dB9A) this interview begins with an introduction to her guest. This is then followed by the actual interview you can see their body language playing a big role as it becomes more heated. The guest’s body language begins to become more stress as Anne Robinson asks questions then interrupts her with a closed question when she hasn’t given a direct answer.


Light-hearted interviews are considered laidback and not being serious compared to interviews such as ‘Hard News’ or ‘Combative’ but the audience still want know more about the subject. Light-Hearted interviews and Entertainment style interview are similar has they are both very humorous and end in some sort of “chat” however, in a Light-Hearted interview it is common that the host/interviewer will have their own sort of stage, e.g. a desk like on the Jonathan Ross show.

The interviewer will approach the interviewee in a positive way has to make them feel relaxed, this would be done using a positive tone and humor, the body language used will also be positive such as nodding or smiling and laughing along with the interviewee and audience. This helps with the look that the interviewer is actually interested in what the interviewee is saying.

These types of interviews will feature a lot of ‘open’ and ‘multiple’ question as it keeps the viewers interested, with an ‘open’ style question it helps prompt the interviewee’s take on the topic and allow for more conversation, because there is no single answer to open-ended questions, compared to a closed question where the answer will direct.

The purpose of a Light-Hearted interview is to often entertain the audience but to still be educated in some manner, which is why multiple question are still asked in order to get the interviewee’s opinion.

Light-Hearted interviews are structure in way that isn’t too strict; it would often start with a quick introduction of the guests in the studio before moving in to another subject for a short while then later bringing out their first guest, the interviewer would often stand up greet them personally and when the interview in over it will end with a defined goodbye e.g. the interviewer standing up and thanking them for coming on the show.

An example of a Light-hearted interview would be the Jonathon Ross Show (http://youtu.be/GKD9YmRa_4o) you see that interview is very light-hearted and the use of multiple questions keep the conversation flowing while the audience is getting a better insight into the interviewee Rihanna. The mood is also very cheerful and you can see everyone have a fun time with the guests and the audience having a laughing.


Entertainment interviews would often take place of a comedic show such as Top Gear or Alan Carr a lot of humour would be used in these interviews as the make the environment very relaxing for the interviewee and get them and the audience laughing.

The interviewer would approach the interviewee in a very friendly manner by standing up to greeting with a handshake or some other form of interaction. They then continue in a very humorous way to get the interviewee and the audience laughing along causing them to feel has if it an informal chat between friends. Positive body language such as smiling and contact would often be used as it allows the interviewee to be completely relaxed and help the conversation build.

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Questions used in Entertainment style interviews are often ‘open’ but not very serious and asked in a form of a joke, this helps with the general style of the interview of keeping it laidback causing the interviewee to not feel pressured into answering but to just continue as if it was a normal chat between friend. Question that would produce a humour answer from the interviewee are also regularly used has it can be seen as cheeky as if they were gossiping then forming a bond between the interviewee and their audience because they can relate.

A short introduction are used in an interview of this style with the interviewer giving information on the interviewee’s recent achievement because showing a sound-bite relating to it. The interviewer then has a topic and continues with open questions. In some cases the interviewer will then participate in some sort of activity, e.g. dancing or something relating to the topic, with the interviewee to help improve on their relationship.

The purposes behind these interviews are to simply entertain and rarely contain any serious subjects that the audience wants to be educated about. People often watch these shows to know the interviewee better because they maybe a fan of the celebrity that is being interviewed.

An example of an entertainment style interview are Russell Howard’s Good News (http://youtu.be/CeRutUNBHoY) at the start of the interview you see Russell Howard asking open questions in order to get information about the interviewee’s recent activities. Once he find out a clip in then shown relating to the subject, then Russell takes part in the subject that the interviewee came on the show for and this adds the entertainment value. Throughout this you can se is very humorous with both the interviewer and the interviewee making jokes.


Investigative style interviews are set up to get answers and find out more about subjects through research. The viewer may not know a lot, which is why experts and witnesses are the interviewee because they are the ones that know the answers instead of most cases where it’s the interviewer already knows the answer.

The interview will approach the interviewee with a lot of positive body language to show that they are interested in what they are learning. By nodding and keeping a straight face it shows that they are listening and following along with the interviewee.

Questions used would often a lot of open and direct answers as the interviewer and audience are trying to get a better understanding, so by asking an open question where the interviewee expand on their answers the listeners then get as much information as possible, compared to a closed question where it would be short and not as informative.

The main purpose of these interviews is so that the audience can get an understanding of the subject because before the interview they knew very little, so by researching they enhance their knowledge.

The structure of Investigative style interviews often start off with a very short introduction, as the interviewer knows little and wants to know more. Has the program/interview continues the interviewer’s knowledge on the subject begins to develop along with the audience.

An example of an investigative style program with interviews would be BBC 3 Stacey Dooley investigates. (http://youtu.be/NJzI1_jX5RI) in this programs to can see that the host/interviewer Stacey Dooley knowing little on the subject she is researching then meeting experts and witnesses in order to get a better understanding. You often see shots of her with a straight face to show she is actively listening. As the program progresses you see Stacey’s knowledge developing.


These interviews are used for when artists or celebrities come on to a show in order to advertise a new album, book or film etc. Promotional interviews are normally very light hearted because they want to make the whole interview calm so as the viewer go out to spend on the product that the interviewee is advertising. The setting of these interviewee are normally recorded beforehand in a different location to the main set of the show, e.g. on the film set with the lead actor, or in a room with a poster advertising the product, this is called a ‘Junket.’

The interviewer will approach the interviewee in a light-hearted manner but still serious enough to get information about what they are releasing, giving the audience more insight into it before they go out and spend. It is important that the interviewer doesn’t approach the interviewee in forceful way as this can make the audience feel pressured into spending thus betting the purpose of the promotion.

Promotional interviews usually always use very open questions that why interviewer can get as much information as possible about the product the interviewee in publicizing, but this can sometimes because repetitive especially when asking the same questions to multiple lead actors, this is when question about the actors and their experiences would be asked in order to know better about them personally and also keep the interview entertaining.

The purpose of these interviews is obviously for the interviewee promote a product, but it also allows the audience to get a better understanding, straight from the person releasing It, as they may know very little. This is also a chance for the interviewee to encourage the audience into going out and spending.

The structures of promotional interviews are very similar to entertainment with short introduction then a sound bite or clip of the film but instead of continues shooting it is often broken up into clips with the interviewer asking a question the interviewee answering then again asked a different question. Small cutaway can sometimes be put in between these questions to make the interview more entertaining to the audience.

An example of a promotional interview is when Emma Watson went on T4 to promote the film Harry Potter. (http://youtu.be/sWpMvQCuE_Y) during the interview you can see the poster of the film constantly in the background. That is the junket. Also in the interview you can see the interviewer approach Emma Watson in a light-hearted way with open questions to get the conversation flowing and a better understanding of what happens in the film.

In conclusion it is important to use a certain type of interview style and technique, as mixing it up to much can cause confusion towards the audience, if the program focuses on serious subject matters then doing a entertainment style interview would then cause the discussion to become off topic. Although the styles of questions are somewhat similar in all types of interviews the techniques used shouldn’t. If the purpose of the interview was the get a direct answer then that is how the interview should end as that is what the audience wanted to know.


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