If you’ve never conducted an interview before (or even if you have!) we’ve put together a few ideas to get you started.
As noted on our general tips page, a good interview starts with good research, so find a few things out about your subject before you begin. You don’t have to dive in too deep, but this will help you devise questions that are relevant and interesting. It’s fine to write down some key points that you really want to cover in the interview and to pause occasionally to make sure you’re covering those points. It can also help to share a list of potential topics with your interviewee beforehand, so that they have time to think about their responses (think of it as a collaboration, not a confrontation like you get in some journalistic interviews).
You don’t have to talk about absolutely everything in your interview. You and/or your interviewee might want to focus on one particular activity, event, outing or organisation - and in fact it might be better to do so. Keep in mind that we have a 10 minute limit and you’ll probably record stuff that won’t make it into your final cut - it’s much easier to pare your questions down beforehand than to edit the recording afterwards. If you upload the full-length interview (e.g. to SoundCloud, YouTube or Vimeo), send us the link as well as your <10min version and we’ll include it in the episode notes.
And finally, before we jump in, remember that these are just guidelines! There more ways to conduct an interview than there are interviewer/interviewee combos.
1. Find out about your interviewee
- Create a little introduction listing some key life experiences or achievements and ask them to expand on your intro.
- Ask them how they’d introduce themselves.
- Do a bit of preliminary small talk, just as you would in a non-interview situation.
2. Find out about their outdoors passion
- What are their main outdoor activities and why are they important?
- How did they get into that activity?
- Do they prefer solo, small team or group? Why?
- How do they fit outdoorsy activities into their everyday life?
- Get them to tell you about a recent - or favourite - example of their activity.
3. How does their sexuality/gender identity intersect with outdoors stuff?
- Does gender identity/sexuality influence how they do their activity - physical, mental, practical, emotional? Embodiment can be a sensitive but interesting topic.
- Do they encounter homo/bi/transphobia? Examples? How about ableism, racism, fatphobia, misogyny/sexism?
- Do they do the activity with partner/s, gf/bf, lover/s, spouse, family, friends - and why (not)?
- Do they belong to any organisations to do with the activity and/or sexuality/gender identity? Are these groups important to them?
- What would they like to see change/more of in their activity?
- What would they say to other queer/LGBTQIA+ people who are getting into their activity? What do they wish they’d been told - or what were they told that was helpful?
4. Wrapping it up
- What’s the most important message they’d like listeners to take from the interview?
- If they were in your shoes, what other questions would they ask? (Get them to answer their own questions!)
- What’s next for them?
- Details of their personal/company website, social media, recent publications, events, etc.
5. A few bonus questions, for when you’re stuck, want to switch topics or find out more
- Can you give me an example of that?
- What sounds do you most associate with [x]?
- What kind of food do you take with you when you go out?
- Tell me about your favourite place/route/season.
- What have you learnt about [x] since [y]?
- Who (or what) inspires you?
- I’ve heard [something related to the topic], what do you think about that?
Finally, a reminder to start and finish the interview by thanking the interviewee for their time. Do say (while recording) why you’re doing the interview and that you’re hoping it will be featured in the Queer Out Here audio zine. You might also ask if they know anyone else you could interview for future issues.