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CW 07 — The Art of the Interview: Techniques to Cultivate Great Material

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 4 weeks
Date(s): May 17—Jun 7
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: May 19
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $285
Instructor(s): Karen Coates
Limit: 24
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
May 17—Jun 7
4 weeks
Refund Date
May 19
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Karen Coates
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Whether you’re writing an article, a nonfiction book, a screenplay, or even a novel, interviewing will likely play a pivotal role in your research. Interviewing is not an innate ability. It’s a skill that can be learned, and which requires practice to perfect. In this course, we will dissect the interview process from start to finish, from how to find the right sources to establishing best practices for setting up meetings. You will learn how to craft provocative questions, along with methods for putting subjects at ease so they open up; how to target your approach based on the age, background, and experiences of the interviewee; how to translate complex ideas and scientific information into everyday terms; and methods for handling sensitive and traumatic topics. We will go over note-taking, recording, and transcribing technologies and create a post-interview plan for scouring notes to extract the gems. The course will include guest speakers with diverse experience in interviewing, plenty of teamwork, plus real-life interview assignments for students to conduct between sessions. By the end of the course, students will have a clear roadmap for how to conduct interviews that generate the material they need for their work.

Fellowship Editor, Mongabay; Author; Journalist

Karen Coates has more than 25 years of professional interviewing experience. She is the author or co-author of four books, and her reporting has appeared in The New York Times, Pacific Standard, The American Scholar, and elsewhere. She manages an environmental journalism fellowship at the global news outlet Mongabay. She is also a contributing editor for Archaeology magazine and co-producer of the documentary Eternal Harvest. Coates received an MS in journalism, anthropology, and international studies from the University of Oregon.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Dean Nelson, Talk to Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like a Pro (ISBN 978-0062825209)