Top 30 Journalism Interview Questions and Answers in 2022

Top 30 Journalism Interview Questions and Answers in 2022

The interview allows you to show your talents, knowledge, and your skills. It, therefore, makes sense to be aware in advance of what particularly distinguishes and qualifies you in connection with the advertised position. 

It is also helpful if you consider how you can understandably describe your experience and knowledge. Which projects have you accompanied what tasks were you able to take on, and what challenges did you master? How do you deal with your weaknesses and how do you imagine working in our team?

We show you the top 30 journalism interview questions. And we give you example answers to practice as well.

1. What Is The Most Important Task Of Journalists?

The most important task of journalists is to inform people. Communicating information means research, classification, and enrichment with a background. Journalists, therefore, have a great social responsibility that they must be aware of. The corona crisis in particular has shown the immense importance of journalistic information transfer.

2. How Has The Job Description Of The Journalist Developed In Recent Years, Perhaps Even Changed?

Journalists should be tech-savvy. The digitization of the media is progressing rapidly, so journalists have to be able to keep up. And as a part of communication, social media has been added. Journalists have to be able to deal with that too.

3.  What Is The First Thing You Do After You Set Up An Interview?

Find out about my interlocutor. Once the interview date is set, you need to start researching people. You need a clear picture of your interview partner – so gather enough background knowledge about the person to be interviewed. You should ask yourself: What information do I need from him/her? Your interview most likely has a clear reason: for example, the local elections are coming up, or a musician has released a new album, etc. You should design your questionnaire based on that. As a rule of thumb, you should have at least 20 questions ready, and up to 35 for longer, more intensive conversations.

4. What Is Your Number One Tip For Doing Interviews?

As soon as your interview partner sits across from you, the top rule is: keep calm! Talking to a stranger, maybe even a “celebrity”, can often be a little overwhelming, but of course, you want to appear professional. Relax and take a little time before asking your questions. A little small talk creates a pleasant atmosphere. I have a trick I use. I ask my interview partner to hand me something like a bottle of water that is on the table. Because when you ask someone to do you a favor, they seem more likable to you; this phenomenon is also called the Benjamin Franklin effect.

5. What Is Counter-Cyclical Behavior?

The principle of anti-cyclical behavior can be used to either stop the conversation partner in his flow of speech or to lure him out of his reserve. In short: if he talks a lot and excessively, we ask short counter-questions like “And why?”. If he only answers briefly, we go into more detail: “There were certainly grievances to complain about, you have already admitted in some interviews that bribes have been paid. What do you think?”.

6. Describe Your Interviewing Style

I like to be interesting and accurate. Interviewers are mostly prepared and informed. But you are the expert. They provide background and news value: surprising and personal points of view, points of conflict, information with reader benefits, and content. I also like to be honest and true. Superlatives, self-praise, and high-spirited forecasts are taboo. Short and clear assessments from a professional point of view are required. And, in the end, I opt to be open and friendly. I like to create a good atmosphere for discussion. The interviewer will dig deeper, address unpleasant things, and confront you with justified or unjustified criticism. Stay factual and focused. Explain instead of defend, inform instead of blur.

7. What Do You Do After The Interview?

Depending on the medium, notes or the recording of the conversation still have to be written down. Very few interviewees speak ready for the press, so it is important not to despair at the confused gibberish on your recording device. Although I try to make sure that the writing is as verbatim as possible, it is not a problem to move parts of sentences if this makes the text easier to read in the end.

As a rule, the interview partner or his press spokesman wants to proofread the transcription. I must grant this authorization. After all, it is about mutual fairness, and for legal reasons alone (the interviewee is a co-author) proofreading is allowed. 

8. What Qualities And Soft Skills Are Required To Do This Job?

Curiosity, curiosity, and more curiosity. And of course openness to new ideas. Confidence is important, arrogance deadly.

9. What Are Your Favorite Topics, And Your Favorite Target Group?

My favourite target group are young professionals, i.e. young people between the ages of 20 and 40 who have ambitious goals in both their professional and private lives. I like to take a very close look at what drives these people, what goals they have – and how I can help them to achieve them. 

10. What Does Digital Business Reporting Look Like? On Which Channels And With Which Formats Do You Reach Your Target Group?

In any case, it is more diverse than ever before: Today we are dealing with a wide variety of platforms on which our target group spends time – and we have to develop our little strategy for each one while remaining close to the brand essence. When we look behind the scenes of the big companies and uncover things that should not be made public, it is often about money and greed – real business crime, that is the perfect material for a true crime podcast. Such formats offer completely new opportunities to tell business journalism emotionally and to experience it.

Social networks are also very important to us. On LinkedIn, for example, there is a great deal of interest in our career articles, which is exactly the target group that we want to reach with them.

11. Name 3 Fatal Mistakes In Headlines That Journalists Should Avoid

The more abstract or technical a topic is, the more likely it is that a journalist will use unnecessary nouns in the headline. The title then contains terms such as relaxation, threat, renovation, migration or serenity. However, it is better if the journalist exchanges nouns for verbs wherever possible. Relax, threaten, renovate, wander or be relaxed reads more comfortably and does not sound nearly as stiff as construction with nouns. The headline is livelier and more likely to pick up both editors and readers.

The next mistake is the quotation marks. A play on words in a headline is always a good idea. Because it often elicits a small smile from the reader. This is helpful because emotions are a powerful way to grab the reader’s attention and interest. However, many times a journalist does not seem to be quite sure whether the reader recognizes the pun or understands the pun. So he puts the corresponding term in quotation marks. But the question is what exactly the journalist wants to achieve with it. Does he want to specifically point out to the reader that this is a funny play on words? Are the quotation marks supposed to defuse the punchline, because the pun is perhaps a bit borderline?

And the last – using advertising language. A newspaper is not an advertising brochure, but a source intended to inform and entertain. For this reason, a headline reminiscent of an advertising slogan is out of place. A good and compelling headline is on-topic, sparks interest, and appeals to emotions.

12. What Are Some Tips For Writing Press Releases?

The headline must arouse interest. The press information must therefore keep what the title promises and deal with the topic. The press release must have added value for the reader. Not all information that is important for a person or a company is of interest to the press and readers. The author should always ask himself how the editor or the reader will benefit from reading the press release. The press information must be current. Another decisive factor for successful press releases is that they are up-to-date. Probably no newspaper will publish a press release reporting on a business anniversary, branch opening or event a month ago. Professional design is key. Both a classic press release and an online press release must appear professional. This requires a clear and concise structure. A press release starts with the headline.

13. How To Choose Meaningful Press Photos?

Creativity is required. The art of a successful press photo lies in finding the balance between a meaningful, up-to-date image composition that is reduced to the essentials and does not look posed. Next, you should describe the photo. Of course, each photo has a corresponding text. However, this text should not reproduce the image but should supplement the illustration with information on the subject of the image. In principle, the text is written like a journalistic article. And be careful about usage rights and post-processing.

14. How Do You Revise Your Articles?

It is hardly possible to revise an article immediately after completion. Because the journalist is then still too involved in the topic. A certain distance is necessary for an objective assessment. For this reason, the journalist should always plan in such a way that he can put the text aside and sleep on it for at least one night. The time frame should also be long enough for the revision.

All in all, the journalist should always start with three points when revising. First is the topic. Does the text reflect the topic in an informative way? Is the main message recognizable? Can the reader understand what the text is getting at? Does the reader learn all the essential facts to form his own opinion? Does the text add value for the reader?

Next is the form. Is the text written for the reader? Do information and formulations fit together harmoniously? Does the text live up to the expectations promised by the title and introduction?

And finally, the language. Is the language meaningful and understandable? Are the formulations on point? Do pictures or examples illustrate the information? Are technical terms really necessary or can they be replaced by more common idioms? Is everything important included and everything superfluous deleted?

15. What Does A Journalist As An Author Should Be Able To Do?

From a purely linguistic point of view, the author and journalist of the term are similar. In this sense, everyone who has already written any text is the author of this text. An author should want to write for readers. Just like a retailer who needs buyers or a service provider who needs customers, an author also needs buyers. The readers are the ones who make up the author’s audience. It is precisely for this audience that the author should not only write his texts but also want to write them. A journalist needs a certain level of talent. Authors see themselves as artists and creative minds. Even in more down-to-earth fields such as journalism or advertising texts, writing is a craft that can be learned. The journalist must master his craft. Just like a musician, a painter, an athlete or a craftsman, an author can only fully develop his talent and creativity if he has mastered his craft and is willing to continuously refine his techniques. And he needs discipline. First of all, when writing, practice makes perfect. It takes time for the author to master his craft and find his style. But even an experienced author who has been writing for many years never stops learning.

16. How Should The Journalist Include Quotes?

The journalist must comply with the citation rules. This includes, among other things, putting the statement in quotation marks and naming the source. In addition, the journalist must not take a statement out of context and thereby give it a completely different meaning.

Quotations should be meaningful and get to the point. Long, convoluted sentences or technical terms that are unfamiliar to a layperson are not suitable for literal reproduction. This also applies if the person quoted said it exactly like that.

And there is another thing. Even if a quote sounds great, fits the topic perfectly and comes from a well-known celebrity. Before the journalist inserts it into his article, he should consider whether the statement is relevant to the reader. The reader gets nothing from clever sayings that focus more on the quoted than on the topic of the article.

17. When Is A Post The Right Length?

Depending on which medium the journalist is writing for and what his or her assignment is, it may well be that both the topic and the length are predetermined. A specific number of words or characters is agreed upon. Or there is a framework within which the number of words or characters must move. If there are such agreements, the question of the length of the text does not arise.

The situation is different when the journalist freely writes an article that he offers to editorial offices. It is often the case here that articles are longer than publication, especially in print media, would allow. Also referred to as a funnel structure, the article starts with the most important information. All statements and explanations that follow in the further course of the text steadily decrease in importance. The responsible editor can therefore shorten the contribution without any problems. The reader still gets the crucial information.

18. What Are Some Important Points For Successful Newspaper Articles?

First, there is the format. The type of article determines how and to what length the text is written. A news item is a short article that compactly summarizes neutral facts. A report is more detailed and is often printed with a picture. Then there is the content. In general, a newspaper article must answer seven questions. These are who, what, when, where, how, why and how much. And at the end, there is the structure. The basic rule for a newspaper article is to put the most important things first. This ensures that the reader knows what the lead is about right from the start and ideally knows all the essential information after reading the lead.

19. How Do You Do Your Research?

I use multiple sources. I research free tools. There are different software, free web services and Internet offers that have proven to be extremely helpful and effective tools for research. Then I research with online encyclopedias. Several encyclopedias can be consulted online, some for free, some for a small fee for the full entry. Next, research with search engines. Search engines work on a simple principle. The user enters his search term, presses the corresponding button and receives his result in a matter of seconds. Another is the research on media services. A disadvantage of the search engines is that, in addition to articles and texts, image and video platforms are increasingly appearing in the search results. In this respect, it may be advisable to resort to a direct search when researching a specific medium or a specific type of media. The respective media services can be used for this purpose, for example, the media services for current reports, documentaries, music or images.

And at last, I research with my archive. Every journalist creates their archive, which grows steadily over the years. In the first place, important addresses and sources of information are stored in such an archive. Which can then be called up again and again quickly and easily in the future.

20. What Are The Most Important Contents Of The Journalism Code?

Respect for the truth, respect for human dignity and truthful disclosure of information to the public are among the top tenets of journalism. Research is the prerequisite for journalistic diligence. In this respect, information and news must be checked for truth before they are published. If a report turns out to be incorrect, it must be corrected appropriately.

Also, editorial contributions must not be influenced by the private or business interests of journalists, editors, publishers or third parties. In this respect, there must be an unambiguous separation between editorial texts and published advertising. The press must respect a person’s private life, personal space and informational self-determination.

21. What Is Your Role In A Team?

It always depends on the situation. I can hold back and listen, but I can also bring in new ideas and enliven the discussion. I can work both alone and with others.

22. What Do You See As Your Greatest Strength?

If I have to name just one, I will say that I am curious and like to learn. I just enjoy acquiring new knowledge and understanding how things are connected and work. I have an analytical mind.

23. What Was Your Biggest Failure?

My biggest failure was that I flunked a media management exam during my studies and therefore had to hang on for a whole semester. Of course, I was very disappointed at the time, but today I know that I just started studying too late and have to tackle the important things on time.

24. Do You See Yourself As A Leader Or As An Employee?

It depends entirely on the situation. I think that I can fill both roles very well. On the one hand, I can work very well in a team, on the other hand, I also trust myself to lead a team and involve others.

25. What Is Important To You In Your Life?

I like my job and I love my family. These two areas should complement each other. I am looking for a job that challenges me, where I can learn something and where I can contribute. On the other hand, I also need my private environment, which I can rely on and in which I can regenerate.

26. What Role Models Do You Have?

Role models – let’s put it this way: Some people have impressed me because I have learned a lot from them. I like to think back to my vocational school teacher, who got me excited about writing. For me, he was the reason why I went on to study journalism after my vocational training.

27. Why Did You Decide To Do This Training/Degree?

My goal of becoming a journalist has always encouraged me. The degree was a prerequisite for that and it was therefore easy for me to complete it quickly. My goal was not to be a student. But to practice this profession as a journalist, where you get to know a lot of people and their problems. That has always fascinated me, even during my practical semesters.

28. How Long Have You Been Looking For A Job?

The last job did not go as planned. After that, I needed some time to myself to define a strategy for the future and prepare for new challenges. I continued my education and got a good picture of the job market. It took a while. But I am here today and I am sure I have invested well in the past few months. I would like to convince you of that.

29. Are You Willing To Work Overtime?

I strive to complete my tasks in the time available. Planning the procedure well in advance and recognizing priorities are prerequisites for this. You know, I am looking for a challenge in which I can get involved and develop. And it sounds like you are offering me an interesting job here. But I also know that you cannot plan every working day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and therefore I have to be flexible.

30. What Are You Looking For In Your Next Job?

I am looking for a job where I can use my written communication skills. As a journalist at your company, I can apply my years of experience as a successful writer and journalist. So I can write the materials that I enjoy working on the most.

Conclusion 

For many, journalism is one of the career areas with the character of a dream job. Apprenticeships and jobs are correspondingly in demand. Now, however, some of you perhaps wonder what are the chances of working as a journalist. That depends on how successful your journalism job interview is. By practicing these common interview questions and answers, you are a step closer to landing your dream job!