Feedback: The Art Of The Interview
I sometimes think I am a poacher turned gamekeeper turned poacher.
As a producer and then as presenter of programmes like Sunday on Radio 4, I plotted and conducted interviews designed to expose what I thought were flaws in the interviewee’s position.
Now, on Feedback, I critically examine such interviews on behalf of listeners.
In doing so, I have to conduct interviews with programme makers or executives which are designed to test their arguments and reveal any flaws. Confused?
I am, occasionally, and certainly feel a little sheepish, or at least that I am in a glass house throwing stones, using the same techniques that are being questioned. And then there is the problem of interviewing Premier League presenters like Victoria Derbyshire and Justin Webb, who could do what I am attempting to do rather better.
Oh get on with it, I hear you cry, enough of this existential angst.
OK I will.
If you regularly listen to Feedback you will know that a significant number of listeners dislike the way some Today presenters interrupt their interviewees, and the number of times they do it.
However it’s not only John Humphrys and Jim Naughtie who have come under fire from our listeners recently.
Listener Michael Brooks criticised the World at One’s Martha Kearney for her “”constant interruptions and belligerent style” when interviewing Ed Milliband.
And Margaret Angus was “exasperated” when Evan Davis interviewed David Cameron on Today. She said “I wanted to hear what the Prime Minister said - not the constant and aggressive interruption of the interviewer – it was maddening”.
Even the aforementioned Justin Webb has felt the force of complaint as he changed his relatively laid back approach for a more interventionist one.
We invited Justin and the multiple award-winning Queen of 5Live Victoria Derbyshire into the studio to discuss some of these issues. Also present was listener Sarah Wroot.
Here is part one of our discussion, which dealt mainly with the political interview.
Next week on Feedback , Victoria and Justin will discuss interviewing members of the public, some of whom can be in a highly emotional state when live on air, and who may not realise the consequences of what they are saying..
Please do let me know what you think of my interviews about interviews.
Roger Bolton presents Feedback