Newsies Team: Easy interviews

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Newsies Team


Facilitator: FltAdml. Wolf

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One of the best ways we can highlight our great simmers and leaders in the fleet is using interviews. This tutorial will explain the easiest way to get an interview published on the Community News.

Start with a Google Doc

You're probably familiar with writing Joint Posts in Google Docs. Writing interviews is similar:

  1. Open a new tab to Google Drive.
  2. Click the red "New" button on the left.
  3. Click "Google Docs" (the blue icon).
  4. Click on "Untitled Document" at the top and give your interview a descriptive name, like: "Lower Decks interview, January 2017 – Joe Bloggs, Phoenix-B"

Now you've opened and saved a Google Doc on your Google Drive! Let's fill it up with some content.

Formatting and style

Before you begin, consider: Is this an OOC interview or IC interview? The majority of interviews we do on the news are OOC, but sometimes we do IC interviews as well. Don't mix the two – it's confusing for the reader.

Second, always keep in mind: Regardless of whether you're doing an IC or OOC interview, never format it like a sim. The premise of our Community News is that it's written like an actual news outlet. Avoid using the "action" tag or writing in descriptions of what the characters are doing – this is not a sim! It may be helpful to think of what you're writing as almost like a transcript for a radio interview. Check out the format of this NPR interview with Otis Clay.

Similarly, with your interview, you'll start with an introduction. Let's imagine that you're interviewing the writer for Captain Piper McKinnon:

Today, we're sitting down with Geoff, the writer for Capt. Piper McKinnon of the USS Georgia-A, a Nova class vessel. Capt. McKinnon has been a member for three years now, but was recently awarded the Christopher Pike Pendant.

This introduces the readers to your subject and lays the groundwork for why you're interviewing this person. You should make this text italics when you create your article in WordPress.

As you continue with the interview, post your questions in bold, and your subject's answers in normal text.

For the first question and response, put the writer or character's name at the beginning of the line. For example:

WOLF: So tell us how you got started in our community?
GEOFF: Well, I found the site on Google when searching for Star Trek PBEMs...
And your experience in the Academy? What was that like?
It was a bit difficult at first to understand how everything works, but after that I really started to enjoy it...

Brainstorm your questions

The fastest and easiest way to conduct an interview is to send a list of 10 questions to your subject all at once.

We have a "question bank" with some ideas you can add to your list, found on Google Drive.

You may also want to create a list of as many other questions you can think of in a 10 minute brainstorm session. As with brainstorming best practices, don't worry about critiquing yourself and editing the list for the 10 minutes that you're working on brainstorming – just get as many down into the doc as you can think of! Once you've done that, read through what you have and start editing out the questions that might not be the most interesting or create "conversation" in the interview. It's okay if you have more than 10 questions when you're done editing.

Send your interview to your subject

Now that you have a list of questions, click the blue Share button in the Google Doc and share the document with your subject. Be sure to put a note into the sharing box about the deadline you'd like to get answers back by – give your subject at least five days, or more.

See also