5 Transcription Tips To Enhance Your Journalistic Interviewing Skills

Every journalist wants to come out as a professional. He or she wants to make the most out of an interview. All journalists, especially the profoundly passionate ones, aspire for greatness. They dream of telling stories in the best way possible. This level of success doesn’t happen overnight. Gone are the days when opportunities came knocking at your door.

Every successful journalist didn’t just fold their hands.

They pursued promising habits, ideas, and processes, and that’s what you need to do. The very first thing you must do is to enhance your interviewing skills. If you are looking for ideas to achieve this incredible milestone in your career, you wouldn’t be in a better place.

This post highlights five transcription tips capable of transforming your interviewing skills as a journalist.

Ensure adequate preparations

The very first thing a good journalist does is to investigate, or rather, do a background check of the interviewee. You need to be aware of a few critical things about him or her, such as educational background and other outstanding achievements. Find out what he has been up to and what others think about him as a person, and a professional (depending on what he does).

Having this information helps you achieve two things;

  1. The ability to prepare the most appropriate questions for the interviews. The last thing you want to see in your notebook or transcript is questions that do not make sense. You don’t want to keep repeating the same issues as this can bore or confuse the interviewee. Poorly planned items can ruin an otherwise productive interview.
  2. It enhances your reputation. You may not know it, but the interviewee will gauge your professionalism. How he perceives will determine the information he will be ready to let out. First impressions are crucial. Give the interview the best shot possible.

Audio recording is the way to go

It is not easy, and nearly impossible to write down every word that is said during an interview. In many instances, you will miss out some vital information provided by the interviewee as you write down their previous comments. It happens all the time, and you might find yourself asking the interviewee to repeat himself.

At other times, you might experience the urge to make him wait for you to finish taking notes. While there is nothing wrong with this, a good journalist should try to avoid this habit by all means. It eats into your professionalism, and in any case, the last thing you want to lose is spontaneity during the interview.

Further, you cannot underestimate the critical role that eye contact plays during an interview. Unfortunately, you can hardly make eye contact when scribbling things in your notebook when the person you are interviewing is speaking.

To overcome this challenge, invest in a good quality audio recorder. Recording an interview helps you capture more of what the subject says. It also hastens you to ask better follow-up questions.

Your focus will shift from grasping an exact quote to hearing what the subject is saying. Make sure that you’ve learned all the functions of the audio recorder and also test to see if it’s working beforehand.

Identify an ideal location

Many journalists underestimate the importance of finding a reliable location for an interview. In an ideal situation, a meeting should be held in a quiet place with unlimited coffee, free of interruptions, and most importantly, a place with zero background noise.

At times, you hardly get such locations.

However, instead of obsessing over finding a perfect location, look for calm space that is convenient for both of you. The one thing you should try to avoid by all means is an area with heavy background noise. Stay away from busy streets and bustling restaurants. Heavy background noise will interfere with the quality of your audio files, and this will spell trouble for the person who will convert audio to text

If you have an in-person meeting, say yes to an invitation to the office. Accepting such offers will help you obtain valuable context. Another option is to meet in a neutral ground such as a local coffee shop, or a park. Of the utmost importance is to ensure that the place is not noisy. Try using those areas during a non-busy hour.

If you lack the luxury of meeting the subject in person, no worries, consider using video conferencing platforms. These platforms simplify the process of interviewing a person from a remote location. Some of these video conferencing tools come with a reliable inbuilt recording function. Should you choose this option, and the interviewee agrees to it, secure a quiet space such as your house or a private conference room in your workplace where you anticipate zero interruptions.

Look for transcription services

Once you are through with the interview, look for someone to transcribe audio to text on your behalf. For video conferencing material, having video captions in place will come in handy. One of the benefits you get when you have a professional transcriber convert audio to text is that you never miss important details. You will be amazed at the many things that will stand out once you revisit the interview, but this time, in the form of a transcript. Read through the entire transcript to gather the best information as well as quotes for your current project. This is where you discover ideas for follow-up questions and if need be additional stories

It is so much easier to go through a transcript than going through the audio and taking notes. The boredom associated with pausing and rewinding the audio file will kill the passion you have for your work.

Hiring transcription services will help you focus on other projects on your waiting list. It will take you several hours to transcribe audio to text, and even much longer if you aren’t used to converting audio to text. Why waste your precious time on such tasks while you should be busy chasing new stories?

Evaluate your interviewing skills

When the transcriber you choose submits the final transcript, see it as an opportunity to evaluate your interviewing skills – of course, apart from its original use.

In your assessment, ask yourself the following questions;

  1. Are your questions clear and concise, or do you keep asking more than one question at a time? Check if the interviewee keeps requesting further clarification. If yes, work on attaining clarity and preciseness.
  2. Do you allow awkward pauses? Long pauses mean that you are not in control of the interview. Familiarize yourself with ways of being in charge to prevent putting your interviewees in awkward situations.
  3. Do you interrupt your interviewee? If yes, stop it. Once you ask a question, allow your subject to respond adequately before speaking again.
  4. Are you the robotic type? Transcription services are useful because they help determine if you usually acknowledge the response of the interviewee or you immediately move to the next question. Learn to delve deeper into the answers of your interviewee. It shows that you are listening actively, and this gives birth to new and fascinating discussions.

With these tips, you should be in a position to become a better journalist than you are today. The most successful journalists acknowledge that research, interviews, and transcription services go hand in hand, and are critical to reaching greater heights.

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