The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Interviewing is the cornerstone of good journalism, and the stories you tell are only as good as the information you get. Knowing what questions to ask and how to conduct yourself in an interview are crucial for getting those juicy tidbits.
Today we’re honored to have two interviewing experts who will be fielding your questions and offering feedback:
Richard Quest is host of Quest Means Business and one of the most instantly recognizable anchors at CNN International. He’s covered a range of breaking news and business stories, as well as feature programming. Quest is firmly established as an expert on business travel issues and currently works as a CNN anchor and correspondent.
Jessica Ravitz was an award-winning newspaper journalist before coming to CNN.com, where she’s a writer/producer on the newsroom’s enterprise team and is often praised for her interviewing style. She’s interviewed people on their death beds, drawn out never-told-before stories from Holocaust survivors and given a platform to sexual assault victims.
Take a look at all the great interviewing tips we got from eight CNN anchors, correspondents and writers last week.
If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:00 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments at the bottom of this post.
We’re here to look at your videos, offer advice and answer any questions you may have about the art of interviewing. Excitement is in the air, so get ready!
Hey folks, about to get started here!
Hello and thanks for this assignment! Can I get a review of my interview by Mr. Quest, I LOVE him!! DOC-499696
Hi there, I am Shari from Sri Lanka ireporter sunethra. I am so excited that Mr.Richard Quest will be on here now. Its 12.30 a.m. Friday the 8th October, 2010 in Sri Lanka.
I love to watch Mr.Quest's show on Business Traveller.
hey hey, the Naked boy is here. :)
I'd like to welcome our special guests, Richard Quest and Jessica Ravitz, to the roundtable. These experts will be watching your interviews and giving you live feedback.
Hello to the iReport Team and guests Richard Quest and Jessica Ravitz. So happy to take part here. You guy and gals rock!
Hello iReporters! Jessica Ravitz here... I've had the chance to see many of your submissions and look forward to weighing in with you.
Hello thanks for this assignment
Hi everyone! Welcome to our special guests. The interviews were fantastic this week!
Hello from the Philippines. Hi zdan, cynthia, sunetra, kcrep. Exited now for this roundtable
I think Richard and I have split up assignments to look at, so while I haven't seen them all, let me tell you some of my thoughts... First, let's start with cynthiafalar -- WOW! This was such a tremendous window into your world!
I admire Richard Quest for a long time I am so happy to be here now thanks
This was a wondeful piece - a classic slice of life that I adore seeing. It brought the place, the people and the feel of the bazaar to me.
But the piece needed better signposting as to what it would be about....was it about the pearl diver? or was it about a strong man weight lifter who sold pears ? was it about the bazaar ? was it about.... in truth it was about them all. It was a slice of life. And it needed to be signposted that this was the case.
Excellent production values. well shot. lovely close ups. a real feeling of being there. just make sure you know what your piece is going to be about and go for it.
Quest is on his way, but for now Jessica is happy to start fielding some questions.
I had my 11th grade students participate in many of the boot camp assignments; thanks for the great resource. A question about interviewing -- do you feel that faking a two-camera interview by recording questions and reaction shots after the interview has concluded is ethical?
Jesravitz thanks so much
Oh gosh...thanks very much. We did it in one take. I don't have editing experience so it was all new to me.
Making Wine in Romania.
Exactly what a slice of life report short be like. I was there. I heard the noises. I saw the faces. Top marks for the way you asked the questions and then did simult. translation. It worked well.
ireports need to make the viewer feel they are there and enjoying the moment with you. And you have to tell them something about what is going on. you did both.
Now the challenge - can you do it again.....???
Hey Nicola, ZDan, Katie and Tyson. so great to be here with you guys. I hope to get some good feedback on my Carrot Top interview.
Hey guys, the first one Richard was referring to was The Pearl Diver: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-498938
Thank you for the valuable advice and information. Mr.Quest
Jessica...you worked at a newspaper before coming into TV. Are there differences in how you would approach an interview for print media as opposed to audiovisual?
Hi Richard and jesica. Thanks for your time with us the ireporters. Hi everyone. Just want to know how's my interview. Thanks a lot
I welcome your suggestions Jessica and Richard!
RichardQuest can you tell me something about my interview about Karen and her amazing toys in Mexico City? thank you so much
Cynthia...you did such a great job of focusing on your husband, even as your son zipped around in front of the camera. Your husband's serenity was so obvious. You did a great job of trying to draw your husband out, even though we knew he sort of had to be convinced to do this.
Because you mention in your post how amazed you are with his ability to stay calm, I wanted to hear more about this from him. Surely he's had his moments where he's not so calm, right?
Maybe you could have asked him: Were you always this calm? Tell me about times when you struggled to keep your head about you?
Another good one: How have you grown or changed through this parenting experience?
Jesravitz can I have your review too of mine? thank you
Rossky...your question is a good and important one. I've always been a writer, haven't done TV work per se myself. But when it comes to journalism, ethics are job number one. As a rule, don't fake anything.
This had good content but its production values could have been stronger. The main interview was on the wrong side to the way he was looking....not major, but it was one of those things.
Also - when asking your questions keep the thing moving along....you have limited time. Always decide what the point is, go for it.....and then if necessary ask a suplementary question.
this was a very good idea....with a bit more production it would have been a great interview.
Thanks Jessica...great points! I will keep them in mind for future projects. I continue to write about our life and our experiences to encourage other parents. So this is great feedback.
Any feedback on my very first interview attempt? "Queen of Strip-Tease"
Moving on to you NakedBoyNews... Amazing work! So fun to watch, and so clear that you enjoyed what you were doing.
What I loved most is how comfortable you were with these people and how obviously comfortable with you they were. The rapport was immediate. The fact that you had already tried on Tyra Sanchez's shoes...priceless.
Ok - here we had photos. They were very well taken, and they showed the story but they didn't take me any further. I didn't "feel" I was backstage. I didn't feel i was getting an insight more than the audience was getting.
this is a classic case where you have to work really hard to get that extra element that takes your pictures out of the ordinary. That is the hallmark of great photo taking.
Thanks for the feedback Richard. :)
Larena...I think Richard was assigned yours to review. Let me comment first on those I have seen, and then if I can I'll take a peek at yours...
Thanks Jessica. I had a blast interviewing Carrot Top, Tyra Sanchez and Pepper MaShay. They were a blast.
My goal is to one day host a segment on CNN entertainment or CNN.com/Live ;)
Any tips for me to improve? Thanks
Jesravitz thank you that is great
Hey dmi2, happy to have you here! We will have Jessica reviewing your video in a bit.
Great, thank you!
Time for a moment of truth. No matter how good your story, no matter how good your interviewee, you NEED to have a good picture too. Interviewing your guest in front of a white wall - especially on a story about Fort Bragg - is a killer. You should aim to get depth, a background, some view, military, road with traffic, something that gives the viewer an interesting watch as well as a good story - it is televison after all, not radio.
Also - be very very very careful with the audio. The camera mic is often not strong enough to pick up the sound and the guest sounds tinny.
Why is all this important in an iReport....BECAUSE YOU WANT THE VIEWER TO WATCH YOUR REPORT. They won't if they can't hear it properly. Rememebr - viewers are used to professional quality of television...they like a bit of MTV shaky cam, and they want a bit of ordinary life - but they don't want too much ordinaryness.
Good stories can be murdered by weak production.
I would love to see this story done again, with production values.
Doc-498576 that's my ireport
Someone has just shown me that the video was hidden behind photo two. ...I have just watched it.
A good story.. and you made good use of the photos to overlay the story as we do. So the story felt it was being told properly BUT (and I will come back to this again and again....) SOUND IS IMPORTANT you must make sure that the mic is close to the guest - or it just won't work.
Also - structure - work out where the interview is going. what bits are going to be the most interesting. And don't be afraid to cut stuff out.
QUEST'S FIRST RULE OF BROADCASTING - What the audience hasn't seen it isn't going to miss ! Don't fall in love with your material
I enjoyed this.
I'm still here
Hey KCRep! Jessica will be watching and reviewing your video within the hour. We're trying to keep up as quick as we can while still being helpful :)
dmi2, first of all, you have an amazing voice for radio or TV. Just thought you should know, if you don't already...
You did a great job of setting up this interview, telling us where you were and why you were interviewing this person. And you got him telling the story of what earned him that medal of honor in a perfect way...
The challenge with someone like this interviewee, however, is that clearly he's told this story many, many times before. Here he is telling the story of a harrowing experience, but there's not a lot of feeling behind his words.
A good tip in this case would have been to have him recall what he felt. Ask things like: "What do you remember feeling? What did you see happening around you? Tell me about the moment you think back to most, the moment that might wake you up in the middle of the night, if any memories do?"
You ended the interview with the perfect question, asking him if he had anything to add. He spoke of his faith and how that has shaped his life. It left me curious about whether he's always had that kind of faith, or if it came after the war.
Ok thanks zdan, this one is being handled very well, I just didn't want them to think I left lol.
Inside a Tile Museum....
This is exactly the sort of story that iReporters the world over can bring to our viewers. A slice of something interesting happening in their world. But I am afraid, most people won't watch this because they simply can't hear what's being said.
Sound is important. Let me say it again. Sound is important. You MUST make sure the guest can be heard.
Also - spend a bit longer getting the right shots, filming the intervieweee in close up. Possibly getting and answer two or three times (once wide, once close up once walking around) so you can cut between them.
And don't be afraid to get lots of extra pictures (we call that B roll) B roll is used to cover the main interview. You can have huge fun learning how to edit the B roll over the interviewee.
The quality here let down a good, interesting story. But I Know this ireporter will be back!!!
Hello everyone, today when I'm online after so many days lost.
Misael Rincon from Dominican Republic
Thanks for the shoutout, KCRep! Also appreciate you going out and filming an interview of your own.
I have to run to a meeting. I really appreciate you all taking the time to review our reports and share your feedback.
CNN's iReport is an amazing outlet and I am so excited to be involved.
Larena and her toys.
SOUND SOUND SOUND !!! A lovely tale that needed a microphone so we could hear what was being said.
But this is a really good example of the stories YOU can bring to our viewers. I loved this piece, because it did exactly what iReports are supposed to do. It took a little part of the world and let the world look back at it. Well done. Now get those production values up and running.
sunethra... I have no idea what time it is in Sri Lanka, but I hope you're still with us.
I loved that you took the time to sit down with a neighbor who has spent decades living in another part of the world. She has a wonderful story, and you gave her a chance to share it.
I couldn't help but wonder why she ended up in Greece. Of all the places she might have gone, why Greece? Asking the simple question, "Why Greece?" would have done the trick.
Her life is so different in Greece, and I found myself wanting to know more about it. Maybe you could have asked: "Paint the picture of what your life looks like in Greece, how it is different from what it would be if you were still here?"
At the very end, she says she'll someday come back to Sri Lanka because it's home. I find that powerful, as she's been away for 20 years. Maybe you could have asked what she misses most about Sri Lanka, why it still feels like home.
But overall, your interview with her was fantastic. A great glimpse into one woman's struggles and journey.
Thanks everyone! This was wonderful! Gotta run!
RichardQuest thank you so much and I will follow what you are telling me I will add sound so I can improove
@Jesravitz thank you - great insight and question techniques. I did ask him about what his strongest memories of that event were which he answered, but it was actually connected with another time during the war so I did not include it was slightly off topic and due to time.
A FINAL THOUGHT
iReports are a wonderful way for you to share some of your best moments with the rest of us. BUT just like no-one wants to sit through hours of home movies...so viewers want to see the best bits. Don't be afraid to cut back, shorter is better.
Quest first Rule of Broadcasting - What the audience haasn't seen it isn't going to miss.
Second rule - Say it once Say it well.
third rule - Don't re-invent the wheel tell teh story that is there.
Fourth rule - Don't be afraid to be brief
FIFTH and Final rule - Enjoy - Lives won't be lost. Practice, experiment and remember. it's only broadcasting
Whatever you may ireport - I hope it's profitable
dmi2...Welcome to my world! It's always impossible to include everything, and the trick is always figuring out what needs to be in.
Well I will have to go too, as I am falling asleep on my computer it is 1.10 a.m. in the morning been up since 10.30 a.m. Thank you very much on the useful information and how to do a proper interview, I had to read the feed back on my other fellow ireporters reports, so I took that info for me as well. Good Night everyone
Thanks for staying up late with us, Sunethra! We're glad you've found this to be a helpful experience.
And don't forget to give me YOUR feedback on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/CNNQuest
RichardQuest and Jesravitz thank you for being here and thanks to CNN Staff for this opportunity,
I have to go but I can only say I feel so proud of being here
@Richard "Whatever you may ireport - I hope it's profitable"
ThAnks Richard and Jessica for the time.
Turning to KCRep now and her interview with her son about his trip to Russia.
One piece you incorporated that was a great tool is the "show and tell" tool. You had him pull out some of his favorite souvenirs and talk about them.
You got him to tell us a bit about why he went, how the food and the people were (all great stuff).
Here are some questions I wondered after watching the piece: What is it about Russia that made him always want to go there? What surprised him most about his journey?
Everyone has travel nightmares or comedies to share, and I'm sure he did/does, too. You could have asked him: "Can you tell me about any funny stories or mishaps along the way?"
"What were the biggest challenges?"
Also, because he went to a place so many people haven't visited: "What should people who've never been to Russia or interacted with Russians know? What are some of the misconceptions out there that you'd like to address?"
@Jesravitz - makes me wonder what good stuff of yours we're missing!
Good sound is key - understand. Anyone know of a decent wireless type mic in the consumer price range we could use to overcome some of the sound challenge?
I have some questions to the experts: in our Latin American countries, the economic situcion I as cameraman I have to do interviews and manage the camera. as I can make a good interview and be the best cameraman at a time without losing the thread or concentration?
Hey hey, Sherbien! You're up rather late in the Philippines too! We watched your iReport interview and will be giving some feedback in a bit.
Hi. I made the video about the Pearl Diver and I live in Qatar. I read the suggestions Mr. Quest made. Thanks for the advise. Anything else I should be careful about?
Jesravitz. You're right, those questions you suggested are great. Thanks for the learning experience I really appreciate that. Next time I will think of better questions to ask, trust me lol.
@RichardQuest - Thanks for the additional feedback to my "Burlesque Performance" submission. It's interesting that you had missed my interview because you didn't know it was under tab #2. I wonder if other people have missed it, as well. I suppose that's something to keep in mind...
These bootcamp assignments have been a lot of fun and I've learned a lot from them and met some interesting people because of them.
@JoyfulGypsy I'd always encourage iReporters to put their strongest content -- in this case, your video -- in the first tab. People might miss your content otherwise!
Thanks for joining us, Zainab! I was really impressed with the quality as well as how much you got the pearl diver to talk about his fascinating life. Also wondering, did you ask if there were any other thoughts he had at the end of the interview? Sometimes you'll find out something great just by asking that super open-ended question. Just curious, are you a student at Medill Qatar?
I just watched your piece right before this chat began. So well done. You were really good at asking this priest to talk about a very controversial topic. And you got a great piece of information at the end, finding out about the legacy the president carries from his own mother!
One thing I would have liked to have seen or heard is a little overview of what you were asking him about. You should never assume that people know the news, and so even if you had included a quick line at the top of your video to say why you were sitting down with this priest, that would have been helpful.
Your subject talked about his objections to the the reproductive health bill, but I wondered if there were any aspects he supported. It might have been interesting to ask him about that.
Its my routine every Thursday. Thanks zdan. It's around 3.50am now. :)
@mpgomatic I think Quest's use of "profitable" meant valuable or worthwhile in this case. Those Brits speak a little different than us! ;)
Hey KCRep... Never be discouraged! You did great. Really, you did. =)
Katie - Thank you for the advice.
The only reason I put the video under the second tab and not the first tab is because we don't get to choose the cover image in video and many times the cover image does not match or do the piece justice.
However, if there's a chance the video will be missed completely, I'll that the chance. ;o)
We've entered the last 10 minutes of this chat. Any questions you're dying to ask??
@katie - thanks for the clarification! =)
Misael - That's a good question. I used to go out and film interviews myself. What I found helpful was to put the camera on a tripod and line it up with the interviewee so they are in-frame. Make sure your audio is coming in correctly and record a few seconds to test.
Then, I'd suggest standing on the side of the camera and having a genuine conversation with the person. It will be more natural that way and I think you'll be happy with the result. Good question!
I have some questions to the experts: in our Latin American countries, the economic situation I as cameraman I have to do interviews and manage the camera. as I can make a good interview and be the best cameraman at a time without losing the thread or concentration?
Greetings from Iceland
Hey, Ander! Feel free to read up on the feedback or ask a question about interviewing.
Thanks for the reply it will be tested and the results shall command them. I hope you visit us soon for our beautiful country, Dominican Republic
Maybe i will try to interview Yoko Ono - who is now here in Iceland
@zdan - I often use the tripod as a poor man's steadycam and balance it on my shoulder, with the back leg snapped out horizontally. My goal is to stay out of the interview, letting the interviewee tell their story.
@mpgomatic AND we just learned that "Whatever you do, I hope it's profitable" is the tag line at the end of Quest's show. Should have known that!
Hi jesravitz. Thanks for the feedback. I will apply all feedbacks on my next video ireport.
@mpgomatic - What a resourceful iReporter you are! Holding the camera on the shoulder is the surest way to get a steady shot sans tripod. It's great as long as you can talk and nod your head without moving the camera. I've definitely run into that as a problem.
I don't think mcitron is on her, but if she sees this later: Kudos to you. You asked what artists need to be asked. You asked about her inspiration, what's hardest about her work, what gives her the most joy, etc.
And I loved that we were hearing music composed by the subject as you interviewed her.
But because she's an artist in different media, and you said she was surrounded by her art, I would have loved to have seen more. Perhaps you could have asked her to show you a few pieces and tell you about them?
Also, because there are so many struggling artists out there, maybe you could have asked if she has advice for young artists starting out.
I believe it's time to sign off, and I've got some writing to do. But I thank you all for your work! What you do is amazing... Best of luck to you!
@katie - Now THAT would explain it! heh
But wait, before I go... Let me just weigh in with some thoughts about the remaining two submissions I saw.
Thanks ireport producers and CNN ireport for this wonderful bootcamp. I have to catch the sunrise for the time-lapse assignment. Till then.
Just got in..hello to everyone..the bootcamps are very helpful..thanks for taking the time to do this!
Thanks for coming, Sherbien! Have fun experimenting with time-lapse video.
@Jesravtz, @RichardQuest thank you for your insight. @zdzn thanks for a great roundtable and your support......
@zdan - Aw, shucks! I learned the technique from an AP reporter's how-to video on YouTube. :)
Thanks for coming, @Jesravitz!
Just got in too, is it over?
@mcintron - We thought ahead and had Jesravitz post feedback to your video a few minutes ago. Scroll up several comments to see what she had to say.
tmacaraeg set out to tackle a difficult topic, and that is the journey of kids in the foster care system. He, himself, said he'd never heard the story of what his friend Stephanie had experienced. It was clear she was comfortable with you, and you did such a great job creating a safe space to talk.
She said her life in foster care has been at times great and at times has sucked. A simple "tell me more about time when it's been great or times when it has sucked" may have gotten her to open up with specific stories.
Because she moved around so much -- five different families -- I suspect she had to move to different schools, find different friends, etc. I might have asked her: "How much did you share with people around you at school about your life at home?"
Also, because she's older and articulate: "What advice or encouragement would you give to kids younger than you who are navigating the foster care system?"
Hope the sun will peep today so that got view of skyline and traffic. Till next Friday Philippine time at 3 am
And lastly, I love the stories and wisdom that can be shared by people who've lived full lives. mskents did a great interview with her 88-year-old mother about finding love again.
You did a wonderful job of guiding her to the points you knew she had to make. Along the way, though, you missed some opportunities.
At one point she mentions receiving that first phone call from Jack, and you jumped in and asked her about the first date. I wanted to hear about that call. What she felt when she heard his voice on the line. What they talked about.
Also, I would have loved to hear more about the Jack she remembered from her schooldays and how the Jack of today is the same or different.
She had a long marriage with your father, but as we all know, each love is different. I wonder what she would say to a question like, "What about this relationship is different for you?"
Oh, and another quick thought: I wonder if she has pictures from when they were younger? And when she mentions love letters...how cool would it have been if you'd had her read from one of her favorites? =)
OK, now I'm really signing off. All the best to all of you!
Thanks everyone! We're done with the discussion, but feel free to come back and read the feedback anytime.
A special thanks to our savvy experts, Richard Quest and Jessica Ravitz. We appreciate the effort and sage advice!
Thank you so much for the feedback! Time was my problem as I always have a hard time asking all I want in under three minutes. :P I really, appreciate your comments. Having internet connection problems today.
Hi, everyone! Sorry too late.
RichardQuest thanks for the advice
I think mine was about the only one that no comments were made, every other ireporter got some kind feed back on their reports.
Sunethra - Jesravitz talked about your iReport. Please scroll up. It starts like this:
sunethra... I have no idea what time it is in Sri Lanka, but I hope you're still with us.
I am so very sorry that I did not see the comment Jesravitz had made on my ireport I value her comments very much and hope to remember her advise if and when I next interview someone else. I am a bit nervous in speaking in public, and cannot quite remember what to ask, yes I could have really asked her Why she chose to go to Greece and describe her life more there. Thank you once again, I do appreciate your comment very much and thank you zdan too. Also each time I had to refresh the page to see the comments so I may have missed the comment earlier on.
I uploaded a video for the boot camp editing assignment but it has not got uploaded, the file size is 40 mb
Miners ordeal a practical view with two great lessons, human expectation is always underestimated, December target reached in October and secondly united we can do more-God bless all rescue collaborators and God bless the miners.
Tunde. O.A. Boston.