Diane Sawyer on interviewing

The best stories are almost always include great interviews, and ABC’s Diane Sawyer is well known for her interview style.

“My husband likes to say television interviews are performances masquerading as conversations,” says Sawyer with a smile.

But those “performances” require solid preparation before sitting down with an interview subject.

“I believe in reading everything available,” Sawyer says.  “Then I throw it all out because the central story needs to be in your head.”

Sawyer says preparation can actually be “the enemy of structure,” if you let yourself get bogged down in the details, but it’s still imperative.

“If you know the material, you can let it go and just pay attention,” says Sawyer.  She stressed how important it is to listen and “to be there in the moment.”

Sawyer is also known for getting some of the most interesting and most important people in the world to talk to her when they won’t talk to anyone else.  She says persistence pays.

“Put a picture up on the the wall,” says Sawyer.  “Call every day until that person calls you back.”

Sawyer says the interviews journalists do and the stories they tell should do at least one of three things.

“Move me, surprise me, make my life better.”