Over at the Book Standard, Adam Langer presents a taxonomy of interviewed authors. The categories Langer presents are The Freewheeling Improviser, He/She Who Does Not Suffer Fools Gladly, The Unself-conscious Subject, The Consummate Storyteller and The Genuinely Decent Human Being. It’s not a bad list, but, without naming names (and this certainly doesn’t apply to any of my Segundo subjects thus far, who have all been fantastic) and drawing upon my experiences in journalism from the late ’90s, I’d also include The Chronic Plugger, He/She Who Will Only Speak in Soundbytes, The Most Important Voice of Our Time, and the TMI Exhibitionist.
I have to disagree somewhat with Langer’s claim that it is the subject’s duty to respond in erudite fashion to the questions. While it does indeed take two to tango, it is the interviewer’s job to find a common ground, to figure out early on how revelatory a subject is likely to be and adjust accordingly, to know the right time to stray from the prepared questions, to provide as comfortable a setting as one can have under the circumstances, and to ask a critical or provocative question at the right moment. Speaking for myself, one thing I’ve noted is that I tend to ramble too much. I’ve begun taking steps to rectify this. And the silly preamble “I’d like to touch upon…” seems to enter my vernacular when I’m talking with someone. Practice, I suppose, makes perfect.
[RELATED: There’s an interesting discussion over at Scott’s about what constitutes a stupid interview question and whether or not this is even a factor.]
(via Moorish Girl)