Questions to ask before scheduling an interview

It’s exciting to be contacted by a reporter for an interview. But don’t be so quick to answer questions right away. Instead, tell the reporter that you’re interested in talking to him when you have more time. Unless the reporter is on a tight deadline and needs a quick answer, he should be able to schedule an interview time. Then, before you end the call or reply to an e-mail, be prepared to ask a few questions of your own.

  • When is your deadline?
  • When will the story be published or aired?
  • What is your contact information? Get the contact information (phone number, e-mail address, Web site, as well as the reporter’s correct spelling of his name)
  • What is the news angle? This is good to know to better understand why the reporter is doing this story. Are they reporting on a hot topic in the news, a recently released report, a trend?
  • What type of information would you like to know? The reporter will probably be vague, but this will help you prepare tips or review any updated research before the interview takes place.
  • Who else will you be speaking to? Reporters usually need at least three sources for a story. Asking this question depends on your comfort level with the reporter and the nature of the story. Use your best judgment because a reporter could be offended by being asked this. But if there is someone whom you would recommend as another expert, make the suggestion. You may win some points!
  • Where did you hear about this story idea? This is good to know if you didn’t specifically target the reporter. It’s helpful to know who is talking about the story or where a release is being distributed.

Asking these questions and being informed helps you better prepare for the interview. You can also search for interview tips or visit to find do’s and don’t in the interview, which will be more helpful.

If you forget to ask any of these questions before the interview, it’s okay. After the interview is over, you could also ask many of these questions. Have any other good ideas for questions to ask a reporter? Share your ideas; we’d love to hear them!

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