In an idle moment I read this article. It’s an adversarial interview. Only it’s in the lifestyle section and it’s of a celebrity – Dolly Parton, who has always seemed like quite a nice sort, though you wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that it wasn’t so. Anyway, since it’s ‘lifestyle’ journalism with a celebrity, you’d think it would be a little trove of interesting information and reflections. Alas, it consists of the journalist being faintly superior (well it is reprinted from a British newspaper) and asking Parton unpleasant questions. Why haven’t we seen more of her husband and is she secretly a lesbian getting it off with her girlfriend? Guess what Dolly says? She says that her husband is a private person – ergo we don’t see much of him and her best friend is her – um best friend. As you can see, adversarial interviewing is a great way to get really interesting information.
In fact interviewing involving listening to what the interviewee wants to say is almost always better, even in politics. It is I presume, why someone like Geraldine Doogue got tired of traditional political reporting and does interviews which are sympathetic, which is not to say always agreeing with her interviewees or even giving them an easy time, but always listening to them and trying to get out of them whatever it is that they may have to say for themselves.
Here endeth the rant.