Posted By Malinda Jorgensen
All journalism students at Drake have to interview people for their articles for classes. Reporters for any publication will interview people at one time or another too. However, if you know before the interview that the interviewee is unique, for example disabled, what would you do?
All you can do is keep calm and do the interview. Here are a few tips when it comes to interviewing:
1. ALWAYS ask if they need accommodations. Many people with disabilities have a variety of wanted accommodations, so I suggest you ask the interviewee, not wait for their response. But here’s a heads up for a few disabilities: If they are deaf with no hearing assistance, they will require an interpreter OR you will have to face them so they can read your lips. If they are in a wheelchair, make sure the place is accessible.
2. Talk TO the person. Do NOT talk to the aide/interpreter who is with them. It shows respect when you actually talk to them, and it shows that you are interviewing the disabled person not the aide/interpreter.
3. Focus on the person, NOT the disability. Otherwise, they will feel a bit self-conscious or maybe they will ignore you. For example, if someone is in a wheelchair, focus on the person, not the wheelchair. If you do that, they will respect you and let you interview them for your article.
4. When they are answering your questions, wait for them to finish their response. Some of them may take their time. For example, a deaf person has to sign to an interpreter and the interpreter has to relay the information to you, so it may take a bit more time to communicate the answers to you.
5. It’s not always necessary to ask about how they got their disability unless you have their permission to talk about it. Most people with disabilities are willing to talk about it, but there are some people who gets offended when they are asked those kinds of questions.
Don’t be nervous about interviewing someone with a disability. Just be mindful of their accommodations, and you will be fine. Also keep a smile on your face!
Is interviewing someone with a disability drastically different than interviewing someone without a disability? Why or why not?