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Interview as Journalistic Form

Steven E. Clayman


Within journalism, the interview is traditionally known as a tool for gathering story material (→  News Sources ), but it is also a finished news product in its own right, a basic form journalists use to package →  news for public consumption. This mode of news presentation was marginal in the newspaper era, when verbatim interviews only occasionally appeared in print, but has become more prominent since the advent of broadcasting and the emergence of public affairs programs organized around live or taped interviews. In moving from the backstage to the frontstage of journalistic practice, the interview has become a key component of the public face that journalism presents to the world. The journalistic or “news interview” is a familiar and readily recognizable genre of broadcast programming. Its basis in comparatively spontaneous interaction distinguishes it from the fully scripted narratives and stories characteristic of traditional news programs. The news interview also differs from other interaction-based genres of →  broadcast talk (such as celebrity talk shows or panel discussions) in its distinctive mix of participants, subject matter, and interactional form (→  Interaction ). In a prototypical news interview, the interviewer is known as a professional journalist rather than a partisan advocate or celebrity entertainer (→  Advocacy Journalism ; Celebrity Journalists ). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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