Advanced Interviewing 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

Registration for this class is full. Email us at to join the waiting list for the next offering and get first dibs when it’s announced.

FULL CLASS – Email to Join Waiting List

June 18–July 30, 2022*
Saturdays, 12-2pm EST (9-11am PST)
*No class on July 2nd

This class is for writers and journalists looking to deepen their interview skills to tackle features, memoir, and essays. Award-winning journalist and editor Sadiya Ansari will equip you with practical 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. Students will work towards completing an as-told-to piece, requiring a pitch and in-depth interviews. (More details below)


Saturdays, 12-2pm EST (9-11am Pacific)
June 18–July 30, 2022 (no class July 2nd)

Office hours: Sadiya will be available for one hour each week.

  • Class 1 (Jun 18): Laying the foundation for a good conversation
  • Class 2 (Jun 25): The arc of an interview
    • GAP WEEK (no class July 2nd)
  • Class 3 (July 9): Trauma-informed interviewing
  • Class 4 (July 16): Interviewing people outside your community
  • Class 5 (July 23): Interviewing people within your community
    Class 6 (July 30): Adversarial interviews

Over the course, students will develop techniques to sharpen their interview skills to produce a polished draft of as as-told-to story. By the end of the course students will learn:

  • Practical tips to make the process of interviewing and transcribing as efficient as possible
  • The craft of interview structure and flexibility
  • 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
  • How to navigate interviews with unwilling participants like PR professionals, politicians, etc.
  • The format of the as-told-to story
  • Students will use these skills to bring an as-told-to story from concept to polished draft

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.


The course is designed for participation, so plan to attend each class and be on time. If you cannot attend a class or will be late, let the instructor know it advance. Turn in homework on time — assignments submitted more than 72 hours late may not receive feedback. And please make use of office hours if you want to talk through an assignment or any issue related to the course. 

Please be on time, meet your deadlines, and read other classmates’ pieces to workshop together.

The course is intended 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. In addition to attending each class, you are expected to be available across all dates to complete your writing assignments.

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 16 students. Anyone wishing to cancel their registration has until June 10, 2022 to receive a guaranteed refund. If you cancel between June 10 and 17, 2022 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 June 18, 2022. Violations of the Code of Conduct may 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; racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia either in your notes (written or spoken) or in your work; sharing recordings of classes; sharing classmates’ work without their consent.

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

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