Q&A interviews suck

I hate reading Q&A interviews. They’re a huge waste of time, and they say to me that the journalist quit halfway through his job. I’m not disparaging the Q&A format as a whole, which can work great outside of interviews, but I despite seeing it in them.

Here’s why. When a journalist writes a story, the process goes something like this. First you think of an idea. Then you think about who to talk with about that idea. Next, you make a list of questions to ask them. Then the interview: you ask the questions and write down the answers. This is where the Q&A format gives up. After the interview, you do the most important part of your job—you synthesize the information, making connections between all your interviewees, other sources, and prior knowledge. Then you put time into writing a clear and concise story that doesn’t include anything beyond what’s needed.

As the reader, I expect you, the journalist, to invest your time wisely so I don’t waste mine drawing all the conclusions you should’ve drawn for me. I expect you to cut the material that’s unrelated to the story you’re telling. Don’t stop at the Q&A; write the story.