Interviewing vs. Conversation
Writing a brief. Find out all you can about a topic in short order, write down your gut, most obvious questions. Find out as much as you can about the bias/background of whomever you are interviewing. TV often calls on one "expert" for foreign affairs….not explaining to the audience that this is not an objective observer but a biased player.
Ask personal questions: how did you get involved in this project, what made you think this was going to work, what was your inspiration for this, has your focus changed in light of recent events, etc. What does your wife or kids think of this? Is this what your mother dreamed her little boy would grow up to do?
Imagine yourself in their shoes. What policy would I pursue? What regulations would I suggest?
you just want soundbites, you can refer to notes, pause, re-ask, stumble. But if you want to broadcast a Q&A, or a conversation, it needs to sound like a conversation. Pre-conceived questions might fall by the wayside, you need to go where the conversation leads, listen and respond, challenge, engage.
You don’t’ need to be confrontational to get at controversy: but say, “critics will say”, or be specific: “Tom Friedman charged in the NYTimes, how do you respond?” Or “some people in our audience must be wondering…”.
Let your natural curiosity control the flow of the questions.
Ask stupid questions – “let me make sure I’ve got this right, you’re saying we can go to Mars today?”
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that. So please explain to our listenters – most of whom are like me and don’t know a hydrogen fuel cell from adam -- how this works"...
Get them to discard jargon. "Please explain to someone with no legal/scientific/economic background, how this could have happened..."
Don’t take what they say at face value: “Give me an example of what you mean”
Or be incredulous: “you really think Iraq will become an example of democracy in the middle east?”