The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air

The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air

The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air

The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air

Synopsis

The news interview has become a major vehicle for presenting broadcast news and political commentary. This book examines the place of the news interview in Anglo-American broadcasting as well as its historical development in the United States and Britain. It discusses the fundamental norms and conventions that shape conduct in the modern interview, including the linguistic and interactional practices of journalists. Through analyses of well-known interviews, the book explores the relationship between journalists and public figures, and reveals the tensions lying beneath the surface of the nightly news.

Excerpt

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “interview” entered the language in 1514, from the French entre voir (meaning “to be in sight of”), hence referring to a “meeting of persons faceto-face, especially one sought or arranged for the purpose of formal conference at some point” (p. 1740). These first interviews were normally between high ranking individuals and, in a world where travel was difficult and most diplomatic communication was conducted by letter, they were rare events accompanied by high ceremony. The extraordinary 1520 extravaganza, when Henry VIII of England entertained Francis I of France so lavishly that the event (and its location) came to be known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, may have been one of the first “interviews” ever to be so named.

By the end of the nineteenth century and the rise of modern journalism, the term interview came to have a different and more current meaning. Webster's dictionary of 1913 defined an interview as “a conversation, or questioning, for the purpose of eliciting information for publication, ” noting that this is a “recent use, originating in American newspapers, but apparently becoming general” (Webster 1913: 781). A more recent Webster notes that the term “interviewee” emerged in 1884. By this point, the term had lost its older ceremonial associations, and acquired its primary modern meaning as a journalistic practice.

The news interview is the invention of American print journalists, and grew to prominence in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century, English and other European journalists began to accept it, often under American instruction (Schudson 1994). Early interviews were usually done without notes, and their results were paraphrased and summarized in newspaper articles.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.