Advanced Interviewing: Better Conversations for Deeper Storytelling 6-Week Lab with Sadiya Ansari

Deepen your interview skills to tackle features, memoir, and essays with an award-winning journalist and editor

Course runs Sundays, March 19–May 7, 2023 @ 1–3pm EST (10am–12pm Pacific)
(*No classes on April 9 and April 16)
This course has been indefinitely postponed.
Email to get notified when it’s offered again.

Get on the Waiting List.

This class is for experienced writers and journalists looking to deepen their interview skills to tackle features, memoir, and essays. It will provide practical tips on tools for interviewing and transcribing, securing interview subjects, and designing the arc of an interview to work towards specific goals (building character, scenes, etc.). Students will consider how power dynamics impact conversation, how to work with sources who have experienced trauma, speak with people across cultures, and how to sensitively approach sources closer to home. In-class exercises will support applying these concepts.

The course is open to 25 students with capacity for 12 students to upgrade to Stream B for an additional fee of $145 CAD. Stream B students will work towards completing a 1000-word profile, requiring a pitch and in-depth interviews. They will receive feedback on their pitch, interview questions and two drafts of the profile.

FREE WEBINAR PREVIEW: Wondering if this course is the right fit for you? Join Sadiya Ansari on Monday, Feb. 13th at 1pm ET (10am Pacific) for her free one-hour webinar: The Art of the Interview. Register here ≥≥


Over the course, students will develop techniques to sharpen their interview skills to write engaging profiles. Students who have upgraded to Stream B will also produce a polished draft of a 1,000-word profile with direct feedback and guidance from Sadiya. By the end of the course all students will learn:

  • Practical tips to make the process of interviewing and transcribing as efficient as possible
  • How to approach research before the interview
  • Designing the arc of an interview
  • Trauma-informed interviewing: How to approach and interview sensitive sources, like those who have experienced sexual assault, child abuse, war, forced migration
  • How to apply lessons from a trauma-informed approach to interviewing people from marginalized communities
  • Techniques for interviewing sources close to you like family and members of your community
  • Adversarial interviews: How to navigate interviews with unwilling participants like PR professionals, politicians, etc.
  • How to use interviews in narrative journalism, with a focus on profiles and features
  • Stream B students will use these skills to bring profile from concept to polished draft
Stream A: Regular Class Lectures & Discussions ($300 🇨🇦 | ~$224 🇺🇸)

Students attend classes and participate in the lectures, class discussions and weekly writing exercises, but will not develop their ideas into a profile with Sadiya.

Stream B: Classes with Story Development ($445 🇨🇦 | ~$333 🇺🇸)

Students who upgrade to Stream B will put this course’s techniques and lessons into practice by developing a profile with their peers and instructor. This includes receiving instructor feedback on a story pitch, as well as writing exercises and peer workshopping. 


Sundays, March 19-May 7 @ 1–3pm EST (no classes on April 9 and April 23)

  • Class 1 – March 19th: Laying the foundation for a good conversation
  • Class 2 – March 26th: The arc of an interview
  • Class 3 – April 2nd: Trauma-informed interviewing
    • No class April 9
  • Class 4 – April 16th: Interviewing people outside your community
    • No class April 23
  • Class 5 – April 30th: Interviewing people within your community
  • Class 6 – May 7th: Adversarial interviews


After checkout, you’ll receive a receipt with a link to download your syllabus, which will include Zoom passcodes, pre-class homework, and additional course information. You will also receive an emailed reminder a few days before your first class.


This class is for writers and journalists with experience interviewing for news, features, or creative non-fiction. Students in Stream B will complete a 1,000-word profile. Steam B students should arrive to the class with two options for profile subjects to complete coursework with.


The course is designed for live participation, however, if you can’t be present for a class, or must leave early, a recording will be provided in the student folder the morning after. Students are expected to be present and intellectually curious during class time. Please be ready to participate with working cameras and audio. If you’re ever stuck or may need accommodation, please reach out to your instructor or TA.


Pandemic University is committed to offering a fulfilling and inclusive education. Classes are held via Zoom with Closed Captioning features enabled through auto-transcription technology. A teaching assistant will be present to correct transcription mistakes and assist in other ways. The course includes workshops and class discussions, thus students are required to participate through audio; accommodations can be made for people with speaking or other disabilities if they inform us ahead of schedule. Video is encouraged of all students in order to optimize everyone’s virtual classroom experience.


Space is limited to 25 students, including 12 students who’ve upgraded their registration for the workshopping series. Anyone wishing to cancel their registration have until March 12, 2023 to receive a guaranteed refund. If you cancel after March 12 but before March 18, 2023 we will only offer a refund if and after the vacated spot is filled. No refunds whatsoever will be offered after the course begins on March 19. A minimum of approximately 10 enrolments is required for the course to proceed. In the event that we don’t reach this threshold, all enrolees will receive a full refund. Violations of the Code of Conduct may also result in your removal from the course without compensation.



Although PanU is technically a fake university, we’re committed to high standards of artistic integrity, quality education, and maintaining a safe virtual environment for students. Abusive behaviour toward classmates or instructors will not be tolerated at any point during the course, including in private messages, and will result in expulsion without refund.

Other violations that could have you expelled from this course include: refusing to participate in group workshops; plagiarism and misrepresentation of others’ ideas as your own; sharing recordings of classes; sharing classmates’ work without their consent; and racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia either in your notes feedback to classmates or in your written work.

The final say on whether or not you continue in class belongs to the instructor alone. If you have any questions, email



About the Instructor Get on the Waiting List. Class Catalogue