Opinion

YES, YOU! You Lack Interviewing Skills, Step Up!

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

Many are now realizing that this is another bane of the creative arts industry, but somehow, it has not been thoroughly assessed, analysed and discussed.

That changes today as this column is putting the spotlight on how lousy and uninspiring some interviews within the entertainment industry have been.

Bloggers, ‘vloggers’, entertainment journalists, radio and TV hosts are, as part of their duties, supposed to grant interviews to entertainers, but unfortunately, some of these interviews and the manner in which they are handled smacks of mediocrity and ignorance.

Nobody adheres to ethics anymore, nobody cares about techniques and nobody cares about standards. It’s all about the numbers, the clicks and eyeballs that would be fixated on the matter. It’s such a shame!

Clicks and trends

For the love of revenue made via social media engagement, almost everybody has a microphone and camera and claims to have blog or ‘vlog’.

Nothing matters except for the numbers; how many people are clicking on the links or how many are watching. For clicks, likes and views, anything goes; any question can be asked and every answer is acceptable.

In the world of social media, there’s no censorship, there’s no editing. What you spew out and showcase is what you get in the public domain.

For some within mainstream media, the craze for trends has blinded their desire to stick to broadcasting standards and ethics. A radio or TV host is fixated on what part of his/her interview or which kind of answers can go viral and in effect put his/her name and the show out there.

There’s now a competition among entertainment hosts; from the blogs to mainstream on who trends with interviews. Who gets the public talking with the kind of answers derived from guests? Which show sets the trends every week? Who is the ‘hottest’ host?

The penchant for sparking trends is making some hosts, who are expected to know better by virtue of their training and experience, also join the bandwagon of the search for clicks and likes.

These trend-hungry hosts are more interested in sharing their so-called controversial interviews and stories on all social media platforms and WhatsApp groups than the desire to do a quality job of engaging entertainers.

Now, the misconception is that if you are a host and you are unable to elicit controversy from an interview, then you lack something.

Seeds of confusion

Entertainers have had to face ‘negative’ headlines in the papers and blogs and faced backlash in the public domain all because of interviews they granted to various bloggers, ‘vloggers’ or on mainstream radio/TV platforms.

These entertainers also find themselves entangled in all manner of fights with each other over interviews they grant. Some of these hosts, under the pretext of getting both sides of the story, strengthen and stretch controversies by conducting interviews that exacerbate disputes.

Some of these interviewers have become agents of confusion, soliciting answers to very irrelevant and senseless questions – all in the name of feeding their listeners and viewers with content.

No research, no knowledge

Most of these interviewers waltz into interviews unprepared.  Evidently, some have their cameras and microphones in their pockets, so, wherever and whenever they meet an entertainer or celebrity, for the sake of generating content, instigating controversy and setting trends, they must organize some sort of interview by all means. The result, most often than not, is the repugnant content.

Based on the line of questioning by some of these guys, it is evident that most of them are bankrupt when it comes to knowledge of the industry. Because they lack knowledge, they just gawk at the interviewees when they make statements that are not factual or demeaning.

Some of these interviewers, even when they have foreknowledge on who they are going to interview, refuse to do any form of research, either on the interviewer and on the subject under discussion.

They go in knowing absolutely nothing and most annoying is their inability to make corrections and clarifications when the interviewee passes on wrong information. Sometimes, the interviewer acts dumber than the interviewee and it’s such a pain watching and listening.

Entertainers are enablers

It takes two to tango and these hosts on various platforms are not alone in this form of patchiness when it comes to interviews.

The interviewer is looking for whatever would make him and his/her show popular, so anything goes. However, the one who is in control of the interview is the interviewee but most entertainers fail to grasp this understanding.

The interviewee has the power to answer or decline commentary on any subject or question. In certain cases, the interviewee is able to educate, correct or clarify when the host gets it wrong.

Unfortunately, some of these entertainers are also limited with regard to knowledge on the history and the intricacies of the industry, so, they are unable to make interventions to correct and clarify issues during interviews.

Control is difficult but…     

The fact is, having a control over such happenings is hard, especially for the bloggers and ‘vloggers’. How does one control the manner in which they operate? How does anybody query them over the content they post? How does anybody chide them for the sort of interviews they do?

Most importantly, how do they stop when they get the most views and most clicks on their channels? How do they stop when the people are watching and listening always?

The control is obviously difficult but for the interviewer, the craft goes beyond trends. You should be noted for something worthy, being intelligent and proficient in your field of work. Build a proper portfolio for your brand as a great interviewer. Stand out!

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