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Lesson | 50 Minutes

What Makes a Good Interview?


LeesonPlan_4 art of the interview_Large.png

Preparation and practice are the keys to a successful interview and amazing story. This lesson uses a famous art project, Humans of New York, to reverse-engineer good interview questions and techniques. Before you write your own interview questions, understand your goal: to get soundbites that connect with your audience, illuminate the topic and move your story forward. Click on the Activities Tab to complete the lesson.

Central Questions

  • What makes an interview successful?
  • How can you prepare for an interview to ensure that you get the information and soundbites you need for your story?

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to write and ask good questions
  • Understand the importance of research and preparation
  • Practice listening
  • Learn how to use empathy and curiosity to guide a conversation -- critical communication skills for journalism and for life

When Would You Use This Lesson?

This lesson can be used at any time to build communication, problem-solving, and organization skills. Use this lesson as a stand-alone, or the warm-up to the interview preparation lesson as part of your student journalism project.

Media Literacy Connection

Interviews are central to most stories you see in the news. By doing an interview, students will have a much deeper understanding of the process, challenges, and decisions made by reporters and editors. These are all critical parts of media literacy and understanding the different elements of journalism that result in the video, audio, or text story that you find online.

Civics Connection

Practicing interviews will help students understand how people talk with one another and explore different perspectives. Additionally, students who go outside their school walls and conduct interviews with local leaders, experts, etc. are engaging with their community in powerful and meaningful ways. Interviews help students follow their curiosity, go beyond textbooks and google, and gives them a tool to explore topics in real-world situations.


A conversation between two or more people where the purpose is to gather information and facts. The interviewer asks questions and the interviewee provides information based on their knowledge about a specific topic or issue.


The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. A generally definition is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. In media-making, creators can have empathy for their subjects and the audience can empathize with the characters.


A short extract or clip from a recorded interview, chosen for its relevance to the story, pungency or appropriateness.

Writing - Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Describe the diversity and variety of functions within the Journalism & Broadcasting Career Pathway.

Analyze the lifestyle implications and physical demands required in the arts, audio/visual technology and communications workplace.

Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)

Digital Citizenship

Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. (ISTE)

Demonstrate writing processes used in journalism and broadcasting media.

Writing - Text Types and Purposes

Creative Communicator

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)

Reading - Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Speaking and Listening - Comprehension and Collaboration




Media Literacy








Estimated Time

50 Minutes