Art and “ingredients” of the interview, learned from professional journalists

What is the interview and what is its purpose? What are the first steps in realizing an interview? How do we ask questions and why the documentation is important for the interview? These and many other new things the CSAJ students learned during the Interview course. The students were taught by Mihaela Gherasim, a journalist with a rich experience in television and radio, media and communication consultant.

The five days of the course focused mainly on the practical aspects of the interview as a journalistic genre. Students have learned about the possibilities and the means of getting information – the key element for making a documented, structured and successful interview. Other topics discussed during the lessons were: the purpose and the way of interviewing (face to face, by phone, by e-mail); types of interviews (opinion interview, analysis, testimony, portrait); the choice of subject and interviewee; wording of questions; interviewing of uncomfortable, evasive and hostile sources, rules of behaviour during the interview. Mihaela Gherasim is convinced that knowing these things will help the future journalists ask pertinent questions and be able to react when the interlocutor tries to bypass the answer.

Some interviews can be transformed into developed news. This is also a good test to check if the essential axes have been reached: who? what? where? when? how? why?”, explained the trainer, before passing to one of the most interesting parts of the course – the practical exercise. Guided by the teacher, the students have done a number of tasks: they chose an official statement and turned it into an interview; they interviewed one of their parents to find out more about themselves, and at the end, they wrote an interview and analyzed it with their colleagues.

The students say the practical part was the strong point of the course. Some of them experienced, for the first time, a face-to-face interview with the interlocutor. Lucia Dascalescu, for example, recognized that she eventually managed to overcome her fear: “At the first interview, I had great emotions and it was hard for me to play the role of a journalist. At the second – I felt more free”. Marina Gorbatovschi particularly appreciated the role-play: “The most effective exercise was the fact we were involved in a role-playing game with our colleagues, being journalists and then interviewees”.

On the last day of the course, the School of Advanced Journalism hosted a group of lyceum pupils from Rezina district, participants in the project „Vocea Tinerilor” (“Voice of the Young People”) realized by the TV channel “Elita TV” from this region. The young people were guided by Angela Zaharova, TV producer and graduate of the 2008 school promotion. Together with the current students, the director of SAJ, Sorina Stefarta, and Mihaela Gherasim, they discussed about the objectivity and honesty in journalism, about the work of a reporter in a society invaded by manipulation, and the ability not to fall prey to fake news.

During the next week, the Mass Media Law and Long Articles courses will be held at the SAJ.