Farm Radio International Broadcaster how-to doc: Holding officials to account

| June 22, 2015

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Accountability interviews are different from other interviews. In accountability interviews, the interviewer holds a public official to account for their actions.

Most interviews are straightforward. For example, you interview a farmer who knows how to interplant beans with maize. The expert farmer shares her knowledge. If her replies are unclear, you ask more questions, or you clarify what she said in your own words. You accept at face value what she says. If you know that some other farmers are opposed to interplanting beans with maize, you ask your expert farmer to respond to these concerns. At the end of the interview, you have helped your farmer-listeners to know the pros and cons of interplanting beans with maize.

Accountability interviews are different because the person being held accountable might have a different motivation than most interviewees. Their motivation is different because, unlike individual farmers, they have a responsibility to the public and the authority to pursue improvements in the public interest.

So when you interview a politician, for example, you have to be specially prepared. Otherwise, the interview might only serve the interests of the politician, and not your farmer-listeners.

Doing a successful accountability interview does not come easy for most of us. In our discussion with someone, we want to please them. However, you are the host/producer of a farm radio program. Your responsibility is to serve your farmers, and you have the authority to do so!

For more tips on successful accountability interviews, read the item at:

Photo credit: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell