If you’re reading this post, I probably sent you a link because I want to ask you some questions for an article. The interviewing process can be weird if you’re not used to it, so this is intended as a straightforward guide. Don’t worry, it’s short!
- Instead of relying on the various definitions of terms like “off the record” and “on background”, I prefer to define how I’m allowed to quote you in concrete terms. Can I use your name? Mention where you work? Etc. Tell me what you’re comfortable with! If you don’t specify that you want to stay anonymous, I will assume that your comments are fully public.
- I may ask about subjects that don’t usually come up in polite conversation. For example: “How much money do you make?” Some questions might even feel adversarial. For example: “People have accused you of XYZ. What is your response?” You are free to refuse to answer any questions, or to answer partially. It doesn’t mean that I won’t bring up those issues in whatever I write, but it’s totally fine for you to set limits on what you will talk about.
- I encourage you to make your own recording of any verbal conversation we have, and to keep transcripts of our textual communications. (This is a good interviewee habit in general! Archive those emails!)
- You can’t approve the final article before it’s published. However, if I edit your quotes for readability, I may ask you to approve the revised text, to make sure I’ve preserved your meaning. Those edits will always be disclosed to the readers.