MINI MASTERCLASS: The art of the interview: Expert tips, techniques and lessons from the trenches

$19.95 inc GST

As a writer, good interview skills are essential – whether you’re interviewing a subject for a story, chatting to a tight-lipped CEO or trying to get useable quotes out of a celebrity. And if you’d like to brush up on your skills or learn new ones, this comprehensive masterclass presented by two senior journos is essential viewing.


Interviewing. It’s just talking to someone and using their quotes for a story. Simple, right? Not so fast. Interviewing different sources and subjects – either for a print feature, content marketing story, case study, book or other type of writing project – takes skill. And in this masterclass, senior journalists John Burfitt and Clare Rigden share essential tips, techniques and the lessons they’ve learned over decades of interviewing subjects for print, digital and corporate clients. You’ll learn so many strategies to help you nail every interview you do – be prepared to take notes!

John’s takeaways 

  1. Finding the right sources for interviews (including whether it’s a journalism or content marketing story)
  2. Avoiding common interviewing mistakes even experienced journos make
  3. Strategies for getting more stories out of one interview
  4. Best questions to ask (and how your questions can make or break the interview)
  5. A self-awareness checklist to do before every interview.

Clare’s takeaways

  1. Why interviews are more essential than ever, especially in the age of the ‘write-around’ (and the recent Domain debacle)
  2. Pre-interview prep – why to do it and how much research you really need to do on your interviewees
  3. How to quickly create a rapport with your interviewee on the day
  4. Tips and strategies for handling difficult interviewees
  5. Recording and transcribing – should you DIY or outsource? Plus, online services and tech solutions available.

All about John 

John Burfitt conducted his first interview for a story for his local newspaper when he was 16 years old. In the years since, working as a journalist, copywriter and content creator, John has interviewed Prime Ministers, Premiers, Oscar-winners, CEOs, academics, business leaders, entertainment legends and Olympic greats – from exclusive one-on-one chats through to red carpet circuses. He’s also interviewed just as many local heroes, first responders and crisis survivors, giving him a great base from which to teach interviewing skills in journalism at five universities. He remains committed to the philosophy that an ‘interview is a conversation with a clear purpose’.

All about Clare

Clare Rigden is a freelance journalist, based in Melbourne. For twenty years she has been one of the country’s leading entertainment reporters, her work appearing in a range of publications from TV Week and NW, to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian. Over two decades she has interviewed just about every celebrity you can think of, from Beyonce Knowles to the guy who plays Toadie in Neighbours. She currently files for SMH/The Age, is a columnist for Yahoo Lifestyle and works as a regular contributor at


  1. Ali

    Super great tips for interviewing! As a newbie in the field, some of these tips are priceless!

  2. Claire

    Really interesting and thorough presentations which I could relate to even though I’m not a journalist. There were some fantastic communication and tech tips too which I can now use when interviewing, researching and writing for clients.

  3. Margaret Barca

    A great class packed with Information and a fabulous and generous sharing of knowledge and experience gained over many years by two top writers. And Rachel’s input was also very valuable. Really time and (not much) money well spent. Thanks!

  4. Timbo

    An excellent mini masterclass for journalists or content marketers who regularly interview people to discover material for compelling stories. John Burfitt and Clare Rigden generously share actionable tips to enhance your interviewer skills. I will be regularly referring back to my notes to ensure I bring my A-Game to each interview.

  5. Mandy McKeesick

    This was the first Rachel’s List masterclass I tuned into and it was fantastic. I learned some new tips from John and Clare and just as importantly, realised I’m doing most things right with my interviewing. Thanks so much for putting it on and I look forward to joining more virtual masterclasses in the future.

  6. Alex Abrahams

    OMG I was completely immersed in the nuggets of gold from expert presenters Clare Rigden and John Burfitt. It was exciting to be privvy to the tricks of the trade and to hear the lessons learned from hard-won experience encapsulated in this 1.5 hour webinar (including 30 minutes Q&A time)
    John and Clare outlined everything from how to establish rapport with your subject to navigating difficult interviews, sharing real-world examples along the way. Technical advice on recording and transcribing was covered too.
    All this for $20 and in the comfort of my own home, in real time with the opportunity to ask questions? Amazing value!

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