How to cite an interview

To cite a published interview from a newspaper, you need an in-text citation and a corresponding reference listing the interviewer’s name, the publication date, the interview title, the name of the newspaper, and a URL if the article was consulted online.

The exact format varies across the different citation styles: APA, MLA, and Chicago style.

When referring to an interview you conducted yourself as part of your research, you generally don’t need to include a formal citation.

Citing an interview in APA Style

In an APA Style reference for an interview published in a newspaper, the interviewer is listed as author in the reference entry and the in-text citation.

APA format Interviewer last name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Interview title. Newspaper Name. Page number(s). or URL
Reference entry Allardice, L. (2021, February 20). Kazuo Ishiguro: “AI, gene-editing, big data … I worry we are not in control of these things any more.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/20/kazuo-ishiguro-klara-and-the-sun-interview
In-text citation (Allardice, 2021)

Because the name of the interviewer appears in the in-text citation, it won’t always be clear whom you’re quoting. It’s important to clarify in the sentence when you’re quoting the interviewee’s words.

Ishiguro argues that “the nature of capitalism itself is changing its model” (Allardice, 2021).

For interviews published in other source types (e.g. books, journal articles, podcasts, videos), follow the relevant format, listing the interviewer as the author in each case.

Participant interviews

In APA Style, a participant interview is one you conducted yourself as an explicit part of your research methodology. Since these are your own work and not previously published, they should not be cited.

Instead, describe where the information comes from the first time you quote or paraphrase the interviews.

The quotations that follow come from a series of interviews carried out with teachers and administrative staff at the school. Participants are referred to pseudonymously.

If the interviews themselves are included in an appendix, you can point this out to the reader with a parenthetical statement like “(see Appendix A)” the first time you quote them.

Personal interviews

When you refer to something someone said to you privately, outside of the context of a formal interview, this is cited informally in the text as a personal communication.

When I reached out to her by email, Smith clarified that the research was still “ongoing” (personal communication, March 31, 2021).

Citing an interview in MLA Style

In an MLA Works Cited entry for an interview published in a newspaper, you list the interviewee in the author element. Clarify who conducted the interview after the title, and use the interviewee’s name in the in-text citation.

MLA format Interviewee last name, First name. “Interview Title.” Interview by Interviewer first name Last name. Newspaper Name, Day Month Year, URL. or p. Page number(s).
Works Cited entry Ishiguro, Kazuo. “Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘AI, Gene-Editing, Big Data … I Worry We Are Not in Control of These Things Any More.’” Interview by Lisa Allardice. The Guardian, 20 Feb. 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/20/kazuo-ishiguro-klara-and-the-sun-interview.
In-text citation (Ishiguro)

Works Cited entries for interviews published in other source types should follow the relevant format (e.g. book, video, podcast, journal article).

Interviews you conducted

When referring to an interview you conducted yourself, keep the interviewee in the author position, and list your own name and the date when you conducted the interview later. These interviews are usually untitled; just write “Interview” in plain text in the title position.

MLA format Interviewee last name, First name. Interview. Conducted by Your first name Last name, Day Month Year.
Works Cited entry Smith, Emma. Interview. Conducted by Jack Caulfield, 31 Mar. 2021.
In-text citation (Smith)

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Citing an interview in Chicago Style

A Chicago style bibliography entry for an interview published in a newspaper lists the interviewee in the author position, mentioning the interviewer later.

In the footnote, the interviewee name may be omitted if it’s already part of the title.

Chicago format Interviewee last name, First name. “Interview Title.” Interview by Interviewer first name Last name. Newspaper Name. Month Day, Year. URL.
Bibliography entry Ishiguro, Kazuo. “Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘AI, Gene-Editing, Big Data … I Worry We Are Not in Control of These Things Any More.’” Interview by Lisa Allardice. Guardian. February 20, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/20/kazuo-ishiguro-klara-and-the-sun-interview.
Footnote 1. “Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘AI, Gene-Editing, Big Data … I Worry We Are Not in Control of These Things Any More,'” interview by Lisa Allardice, Guardian, February 20, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/20/kazuo-ishiguro-klara-and-the-sun-interview.

2. Ishiguro, “‘AI, Gene-Editing, Big Data.’”

For interviews published in other source types, follow the relevant format (e.g. book, video, journal article), always listing the interviewee as the author.

Interviews you conducted

When referring to an interview you conducted yourself, Chicago recommends against including it in the bibliography. Instead, just refer to the interview in a footnote when you first quote or paraphrase it. You can refer to yourself as “author” in this context.

2. Emma Smith, interview by author, March 31, 2021.

Frequently asked questions about citations

What are the main elements of an interview citation?

The main elements included in a newspaper interview citation across APA, MLA, and Chicago style are the names of the interviewer and interviewee, the interview title, the publication date, the name of the newspaper, and a URL (for online sources).

The information is presented differently in different citation styles. One key difference is that APA advises listing the interviewer in the author position, while MLA and Chicago advise listing the interviewee first.

Do I need a citation when I quote or paraphrase an interview?

For a published interview (whether in video, audio, or print form), you should always include a citation, just as you would for any other source.

For an interview you conducted yourself, formally or informally, you often don’t need a citation and can just refer to it in the text or in a footnote, since the reader won’t be able to look them up anyway. MLA, however, still recommends including citations for your own interviews.

How do I cite a source with no title?

Untitled sources (e.g. some images) are usually cited using a short descriptive text in place of the title. In APA Style, this description appears in brackets: [Chair of stained oak]. In MLA and Chicago styles, no brackets are used: Chair of stained oak.

For social media posts, which are usually untitled, quote the initial words of the post in place of the title: the first 160 characters in Chicago, or the first 20 words in APA. E.g. Biden, J. [@JoeBiden]. “The American Rescue Plan means a $7,000 check for a single mom of four. It means more support to safely.”

MLA recommends quoting the full post for something short like a tweet, and just describing the post if it’s longer.

Which citation style should I use?

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

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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.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 31, 2021 at 9:47 PM

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