How to do a two-way

A “two-way” is the name for an interview with somebody who isn’t in the studio with the presenter.

As a broadcast journalist you may be asked to do a live interview from the location of a story or, alternatively, using the newsroom camera.

So, how should you go about preparing? Here are some tips.

Do your research. You need to have enough information about your story to talk about it for 90 seconds or so.

Keep it simple. You think of the questions, so you need to make sure you can answer them. The questions should be simple and single idea.

Good two-way questions

What’s the latest? (This only works if the story is still running and changing while you are doing the two-way.)
Tell us more? (A good opening question)
What’s the other side of the story? (“What do the council say?” for example.)
What’s the background to this story?
What’s next?

A typical duration for a reporter two-way is around one minute thirty, plus the presenter link. One minute thirty would equal three questions and thirty seconds each for you to answer them.

Don’t try to learn your lines. You’re not an actor. You won’t remember them.

Work out what you want to say and turn it into a few bullet points that you write down on your notepad. Also include any key statistics or names or quotes that you might forget. Glance down at your notes when you need to. Don’t write the whole script out and simply read it out loud.

NB: All of this applies to radio as well as TV. You can obviously look down at your notes much more in radio, but you should still avoid the temptation to simply read out a script.+

Look at this example. Ifan has notes which he refers to, but he doesn’t just read them out loud. Most of the time he is looking straight into the camera. He also has a look at his notes when he is being asked a question (because at this point we are normally seeing the presenter and not the reporter.) His answers are clear and conversational.

Note that the reporter and presenter use each other’s names. Note that at the end of the two-way, Rebecca thanks Ifan but he doesn’t say anything.

+ Though you would read a pre-written script if the two-way was legally difficult, for example.