9.3 Purposes / Information Gathering

Most communicators use interviewing to meet the information task of backgrounding themselves on their topic/client/industry and gathering basic information. Think about the street-sweeping equipment example. Depending on the purpose, and audience, for which you are crafting the message, you will seek different kinds of basic information:

  • A street sweeper sweeping away

    debbienews – Street sweeper – CC0

    PR piece in the company’s magazine for employees and shareholders: you’d ask questions about the impact of the new equipment on the work force of the firm.

  • Advertising campaign: you’d focus on acquiring details about the effectiveness of the machine – perhaps even operating the equipment to get a feel for the product.

  • News report:  you’d want to learn about the effect of the equipment on street cleaning in the city, on the firm’s profitability, or the bidding process that resulted in the selection of this particular equipment.

In each of these instances, the interviewer is engaging the company representative in a dialog that recognizes the ultimate interest of the audience in particular questions about the firm’s decisions and behaviors. The information task in this type of interview might be getting hard facts, opinions, attitudes, or anecdotes.