How to cite an interview in Chicago style

To cite an interview in Chicago style, the format depends on whether you are citing a published/broadcast interview or an unpublished interview (for example, one that you conducted yourself).

A published interview is usually cited much like any other item in a periodical, but starts with the interviewee’s name in place of the author. A Chicago style footnote for a published interview looks like this:

1. J.M. Coetzee, “Writers’ Groups: An Interview with J.M. Coetzee,” interview by Peter McDonald, Writers and Free Expression (blog), January 7, 2019, https://writersandfreeexpression.com/­2019/01/07/­writers-groups-an-interview-with-j-m-coetzee/.

An unpublished interview is generally just described in the text or in a note, not included in the bibliography, and is more flexible in format:

2. David Wilson (editor at Daily Times), in discussion with the author, January 2004.

Citing a published or broadcast interview

Citations of interviews that have been published (e.g. in a newspaper or magazine) or broadcast (e.g. on television, radio, or a podcast) generally follow the format for the form in which they were published, but with interview-specific information added.

The citation always begins with the name of the person being interviewed. If there is a title, include this in quotation marks, and add the interviewer’s name after it.

Video interview bibliography example

Smith, Zadie. “On Shame, Rage and Writing.” Interview by Synne Rifbjerg. April 17, 2018. Video, 17:24. https://youtu.be/4LREBOwjrrw.

Note that an online video of an interview differs slightly from the usual format of a Chicago YouTube citation by starting with the interviewee’s name instead of the channel that uploaded the video.

Magazine interview bibliography example

Cusk, Rachel. “‘I Don’t Think Character Exists Anymore’: A Conversation with Rachel
Cusk.” Interview by Alexandra Schwartz. The New Yorker. November 18, 2018. https://www.newyorker.com/­culture/­the-new-yorker-interview/­i-­dont-­think-­character-­exists-­anymore-­a-­conversation-­with-­rachel-­cusk.

The exact format of the citation depends on whether you are using notes and bibliography or author-date style. In both styles, though, treat the interviewee as the author in in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliography or reference list entries.

Citing an unpublished interview

Sometimes you’ll want to cite from an interview that has not been formally published or broadcast. This may be an interview from an archive or one you conducted yourself.

In Chicago style, you generally shouldn’t include an unpublished interview in your bibliography or reference list. Instead, just describe it in the text, or give details in a footnote.

References to interviews of this kind should include the name of the interviewee, that of the interviewer, and any other information you think is relevant, such as the date and place of the interview:

1. Jack Caulfield, in discussion with John Smith, Amsterdam, September 2019.

If you yourself were the interviewer, replace your name with “the author”:

2. James Johnson, in conversation with the author, July 2018.

If you’ve agreed to keep the interviewee anonymous, use an appropriate description of them.

3. Interview with a high-school teacher, March 2015.

If the interview is available somewhere in the form of a transcript or recording, include information on how or where it can be accessed:

4. Jack Caulfield, interview by John Smith, 2019, transcript 44A, Scribbr Archives, Amsterdam.

Citing personal communications

In cases where no formal interview was conducted but you wish to refer to a conversation, phone call, message, email, etc. involving yourself, Chicago recommends that no bibliography or reference list entry should be used.

Personal communications like this can be referred to informally, in a note or in the text:

In a conversation with the author in December 2018, Smith stated…

1. Dave Johnson, email to the author, April 11, 2018.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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