3 reasons media email interviews stink

pink emailWhen a reporter or blogger is looking for a source, it’s important to recognize there are significant disadvantages to participating in an email interview and not a typical phone interview.

Are email interviews the lazy person’s way to get information? Many media requests listed on HARO (Help a Reporter Out) stipulate interviews will be conducted via e-mail.

It seems a growing number of people skip the human element of exchanging pleasantries and instead hide behind their keyboards. For me, it’s simple. I prefer to talk rather than type. You?

Sure,  in our busy worlds, there’s a certain convenience to receiving information electronically. But e-mail interviews lack a critical communication dynamic that’s present when a reporter takes the time to speak with a source.

Without dialogue, the art of give-and-take doesn’t exist at a deep level.

Nudging our curiosity

We must also recognize the role that our natural curiosity plays in the interview process. Even if 10 rounds of e-mails are traded, the content will never match that of a human conversation.

The reason?  E-mail deprives a reporter or blogger the opportunity to spark their own curiosity and possibly uncover new insights and content. Nudging our curiosity is essential in developing content and learning new things. Curiosity and education go hand-in-hand.

E-mail interviews detract from the fundamental news-gathering process because they:

Lack the human exchange and conversation that gives life to interviews.  I have interviewed thousands of people, from homeless individuals to presidents. Each was conducted in-person or on the telephone. And each response within a conversation typically sparked a follow-up question or slight tangent that I, as a trained journalist and news reporter, could never have anticipated. This is why scripted Q&A doesn’t compare with live interviews. E-mail misses our communication nuances, speech patterns, and vocal vitality. These live exchanges—fueled by a natural curiosity—improved the quality of information I had been gathering that simply cannot exist in an e-mail interview.

Fail to capture the essence of the source that’s being interviewed. Based on the perspectives I have shared above, we now turn to the actual writing of the story. When a reporter or blogger is finished gathering material and is ready to sit down and write, I wonder if they can truly capture the essence of a story in the same way a counterpart could who spoke with a source.   Yes, any reporter can miss the mark and fail to truly “get” the story. But why increase the odds?

Keep people from using their communication skills. Typing responses to a series of questions limits our verbal communication and rapport building skills. We have all sent and received electronic messages that were misconstrued in some way.  In phone interviews, tone of voice, rhythm, pacing, pauses, and enthusiasm help reporters grasp a story and the person behind it. Human to human.  Some reporters even prefer to Skype with sources, as the visual adds an additional layer of valuable communication.  Skype and in-person interviews allow the reporter or blogger to observe a source’s body language, which is a significant factor in our verbal and nonverbal communication.

Do you agree or have an experience to share? Your comments are welcome.

PS: Is your business ‘the best kept secret?’  It’s time to let the cat out of the bag! Hundreds of tips and ideas for pitching news stories and working with the media are in my new Kindle book, The Badass Book of Social Media and Business Communication. Order now!


  1. fantastic issues altogether, you just received a new reader.

    What could you suggest about your post that you simply made some days in the past?
    Any certain?

  2. Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different
    subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb
    choice of colors!

  3. I think other web site proprietors should take this website as an model, very clean and great user genial style and design, let alone the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  4. certainly like your web-site however you have to test the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth on the other hand I will surely come again again.

  5. If you are paying attention to learn Search engine optimization techniques then you have to read this post, I am sure you will get much more from this article on the topic of Web optimization.

  6. After I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  7. Thank you for sharing superb information. Your site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles.

  8. One thing I have actually noticed is the fact there are plenty of misguided beliefs regarding the banking companies intentions any time talking about property foreclosures. One fantasy in particular is the fact the bank wants your house. The bank wants your hard earned dollars, not the home. They want the money they lent you together with interest. Averting the bank is only going to draw some sort of foreclosed realization. Thanks for your publication.

  9. I should say also believe that mesothelioma cancer is a exceptional form of most cancers that is often found in those people previously familiar with asbestos. Cancerous tissue form in the mesothelium, which is a defensive lining which covers most of the body’s internal organs. These cells commonly form inside lining of your lungs, tummy, or the sac that really encircles one’s heart. Thanks for discussing your ideas.

  10. Hello there, just changed into aware of your weblog thru Google, and located that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate in case you proceed this in future. Lots of folks shall be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  11. A large percentage of of the things you state happens to be supprisingly precise and it makes me ponder why I had not looked at this with this light before. This particular piece truly did turn the light on for me as far as this subject matter goes. Nevertheless there is one particular factor I am not really too comfy with so while I make an effort to reconcile that with the central theme of your issue, allow me observe what all the rest of the subscribers have to say.Nicely done.

  12. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an shakiness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

  13. I will right away seize your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  14. 154634 773302I just couldnt depart your internet site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard data an individual provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back frequently in order to inspect new posts 742095

  15. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

  16. An attention-grabbing discussion is price comment. I think that you must write extra on this matter, it may not be a taboo subject however usually people are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  17. I intended to compose you a little word to finally say thanks over again relating to the fantastic strategies you have shared on this site. This has been simply tremendously open-handed with you to provide publicly all a few individuals could have marketed as an ebook to earn some dough for their own end, most importantly now that you could have done it in case you decided. Those inspiring ideas likewise worked as a easy way to realize that the rest have the identical passion just as mine to learn way more regarding this condition. I am certain there are millions of more pleasant sessions ahead for many who discover your site.

  18. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Thanks

  19. I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  20. I intended to draft you one very small word to help give many thanks once again regarding the striking tactics you have contributed on this site. This is certainly strangely open-handed of people like you to deliver easily what exactly a lot of people would have marketed as an electronic book to help make some bucks for themselves, chiefly considering that you might well have done it in the event you desired. The things likewise worked to become good way to fully grasp that other people have similar fervor really like my personal own to understand more in respect of this problem. I’m sure there are numerous more pleasant instances ahead for people who see your blog.

  21. In my opinion that a foreclosures can have a major effect on the applicant’s life. House foreclosures can have a Seven to few years negative influence on a borrower’s credit report. A new borrower having applied for a home loan or almost any loans even, knows that the actual worse credit rating is, the more tricky it is to get a decent mortgage. In addition, it could affect a borrower’s chance to find a reasonable place to let or hire, if that gets to be the alternative housing solution. Thanks for your blog post.

  22. The things i have seen in terms of pc memory is there are features such as SDRAM, DDR etc, that must match the specific features of the mother board. If the personal computer’s motherboard is pretty current and there are no operating system issues, updating the storage space literally takes under a couple of hours. It’s among the list of easiest computer upgrade methods one can picture. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

  23. I have learned newer and more effective things from your blog post. Yet another thing to I have noticed is that in many instances, FSBO sellers can reject an individual. Remember, they’d prefer never to use your companies. But if anyone maintain a comfortable, professional partnership, offering support and remaining in contact for four to five weeks, you will usually be able to win interviews. From there, a listing follows. Thanks

  24. What i do not realize is in truth how you’re no longer actually a lot more neatly-liked than you might be now. You’re so intelligent. You realize therefore significantly in terms of this subject, produced me in my view consider it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated until it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent. At all times take care of it up!

  25. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i am happy to convey that I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most certainly will make sure to do not forget this web site and give it a glance regularly.

  26. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  27. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  28. Someone necessarily help to make severely articles I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible. Excellent job!

  29. I in addition to my pals were reviewing the nice techniques located on your website and then before long I got a terrible suspicion I never thanked the website owner for those strategies. My young men were definitely as a consequence warmed to read them and have in effect definitely been taking advantage of those things. Thanks for indeed being so accommodating as well as for using these kinds of fantastic ideas most people are really desperate to be informed on. Our own honest regret for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

  30. Hi! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!

  31. Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I’m also a specialist in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  32. I am really loving the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here