How to Interview Zoos

As a somewhat prominent member of the zoo community, I get asked to do interviews a LOT. I would say probably somewhere in the realm of once a week or so. And even more lately with all the extra attention that zoos have been getting. That said, if I'm being honest, a lot of the people asking for interviews are... Well, to put it bluntly, they really have not put in a bare minimum of effort when it comes to what it is they actually want. I tend to be very happy to chat with people about zoosexuality, you can find examples of me agreeing to do interviews in a number of places, but if I'm going to take the time out of my day to have that kind of conversation with someone I expect them to have put in the time to make my effort worth it. In the magazine, we've already covered zoo media training, but this time I want to approach it from the other side. So, if you're someone who's looking to interview zoos, start here. 
Let's start with the basics. What is an interview? If you and your friend are just chatting about where to eat, you might be asking them questions like "Chinese? Pizza? Sushi?" But that doesn't mean it's an interview, it's a conversation. Similarly, you can have a discussion. Those tend to be a little bit more serious, and in depth. There's also the matter of conversation style. If your goal is to just say "Animals can't consent, prove me wrong," that's not really a great interview. If you're constantly talking down on the other person, and trying to fight them on every single point they make, it's not an interview, it's an argument. And, in this context, it kinda totally seems like fishing for content in a scummy way, not in a cool way that other mature people will like seeing. And to be clear, if you're looking to just chat, have a conversation, a discussion, or even an argument with a zoo, that's totally okay. There are people out there that'll be happy to do that with you. But if you're going to ask for an interview you have to understand that you're asking for something where the barrier to entry is much higher. An interview is structured, conversational, but based around a interviewer asking questions, and an interviewee answering those questions, typically for the purposes of publication, whether that's just as content, or for research, or any other purpose.
Okay, so you know what an interview is. Next up, let's talk about you. Who are you? The vast majority of the interview requests that I get come from Twitter accounts with basically no posts and no followers, with no other self-made content posted. They DM me and say quite literally just, "Hello, would you like to do an interview". That doesn't give me a lot to work with when it comes to deciding whether or not you're someone I should spend my time on. Like I mentioned in the sister article about being interviewed, you should only ever take interviews from people who you know are going to treat that with respect. So on the interviewer side, you need to show that respect, and you do that by showing that you know what you're doing. Whether you're a big channel or just starting out, the first step should be to write a full interview request. When you're asking if someone wants to do an interview, they should know everything they need to know from your initial message. 
-What format is the interview going to be conducted in?
Is it voice, text, something in between? What platform are you using to do it? 
-Where is the interview going to be posted? 
Is it for social media? YouTube? Are you live streaming it? You should already have your channel or account or whatever made, and link that as well so that the prospective interviewee can see it. If you're a researcher in academia, you should be providing a link to the school you work out of, as well as a much more detailed message about the scope of what you're looking for, and the context you're planning to use it in.
-What do you want to know about? 
There's a lot to zoosexuality. Are you looking to just understand who zoos are, are you looking to talk about the specific arguments against it, did you want to ask about what loving an animal is like? Get specific. 
-Why do you want to do the interview?
What's your motivation? Are you just looking for content? That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's worth mentioning up front. Are you looking to help the cause, and you want to show that off? Are you an anti zoo trying to please your hate audience? Some zoos will be willing to do that still if you're up front about it. Or maybe you just want to learn more about us. That's super valid as well. 
Mix all of that with some general politeness and pleasantries and you've got yourself a pretty decent interview request! 
So, what's the next step? Figuring out who you want to interview! Depending on who you ask, you're going to get very different answers.
For instance, if you ask me, Tarro, I'm someone who's very comfortable talking about my sexuality, and I tend to be very loquacious. I'm going to give long and thought-out detailed answers. But, I also don't have a lot of time, so if I don't see any value in doing the interview I'll probably turn you down at the start. I'm also more than willing to push back against points I don't like, and even leave mid interview if I feel like it's not productive.
On the other hand, you could ask someone who's newer to the community or doesn't have as much experience talking about zoosexuality in a more formal-feeling context. They might be more willing to do the interview, and more willing to put up with a newer interviewer as well, but they might not have the same level of detail in their answers, or know how to be entertaining to the audience. That might be kinda dry content, for you. I wouldn't expect it to do a lot of numbers. But, it could be a good starting point if you're just getting into interviewing!
If you're really dialed into the zoo community there are people out there in between, not as big, but also still very good at talking. But you need to be willing to put in the work to find those people if you want them.
Also, I don't think this needs to be said, but please do not interview children. There are plenty of people out there that will give you great interviews, you do not need to be hitting up minors. If you're a minor yourself, please disclose that to the person you want to interview, as asking for an interview on sexuality without disclosing that would be pretty underhanded and gross. You can follow your content making dreams and everything, but, don't be deceitful creep when it comes to interacting with other people's sexuality.
Wow, this sure is a lot of work just to talk to a zoo! If that's what you're thinking to yourself right now, you're right! When you're coming into someone's life to ask them invasive questions about their sexuality, there should be some work involved on your end! That said, don't worry, you're almost there. You've got an idea of what you want, you have someone to interview. The next step is to make sure that you speak the same language. If you're going to talk to a zoo about zoosexuality in any aspect, you should have done a baseline level of research about who zoos are. If you don't know what ZooTT is, think that zoos are a 2020s thing, or that all zoos are men that penetrate animals, you aren't qualified to even ask the basics. You should know at least the basics of who zoos are, and a little bit about their culture. You should probably read a couple more of our intro articles (see the FAQ), check out some of our great podcasts, spend some time in zoo spaces. Not only will that help you to have a conversation on the same page as the person you're interviewing, it'll also help you know what to ask. 
"So what animals are you into?" 
Is not a very interesting question for someone named @horsephilezeta, but if you ask 
"What makes horses so amazing to you?" 
Suddenly you're getting a much more engaged answer. This pattern is true of pretty much any question you could ask. You could ask if animals can consent, but that's boring. Instead, if you're familiar with zoo ideas, you can ask a question that's much more targeted, and will lead to a much more interesting answer. 
And finally, we get to the interview itself!
Going into it, you should have a bunch of notes down. Questions for sure, but also just interesting points to weave into the conversation. For instance, say I want to know about what the difference is between dating a dog and just having a pet. I can have that question prepped, but also to make it more interesting, I could weave in my own experiences as a pet owner and provide an anecdote or two about my own life. Suddenly it's better for the interview because it's more conversational, and it's more interesting for the audience because they're understanding my perspective on the matter.
Also, make sure that you stay polite and calm. Even if you are someone that's very anti-zoo, if you start yelling and screaming and insulting the person that you're interviewing, you only end up looking like an idiot. There are parts of the internet that like that kind of content, but if you're looking to make an audience outside of 14 year old boys, you're going to get a much better reception by being professional. If you want to disagree or push back you absolutely can, but do it from a place of interest, not from a visceral emotional reaction. Keep your goals in mind. If you're trying to research a specific topic, make sure you coax out in-depth answers on that thing. If you're producing content, remember to keep it fun and moving. When you're conducting your interview, you're on stage. You're performing. It can be loose and casual, but at the end of the day both of you are there for a reason and it's important to keep that end goal in mind. 
Once the interview is over, the last thing is post production. Editing and publishing. Editing around interviews is always a little bit tricky. You don't want to change what the interviewee is saying, but at the same time sometimes you need to cut around things for clarity or because it just isn't super targeted towards your goal. That's okay. Just remember to be considerate of the message. You should always provide a copy of the finished product to the person you interviewed before you publish it publicly, that way they have a chance to give it the thumbs up that you didn't change anything that makes them uncomfortable. This is beneficial not just for them, but for you as well. If they had a great time doing the interview they're much more likely to share it around and promote it, which will then help its reach. Speaking of which, when you're putting out content, the way that you label your interview is going to be very important. "Confronting a dog fucker" is going to be a very different audience than "Talking Dogs with Tarro." Generic titles like "I Interviewed a Zoophile!" are going to do okay, but not particularly inspired. You know your audience better than I do, but remember that zoos are very interested in people talking about zoos, and so titles that are positive or neutral are going to get a lot of clicks from our community, while titles that are negative probably won't. 
And that's that! You've interviewed a zoophile! Good for you! Was it everything you ever wanted? I hope so. The zoosexual community is fascinating. There's so many cool and interesting individuals here, and the movement itself is very cool from a sociological perspective too. I expect there's going to be a lot more people looking to interview zoos in the future. So if you're one of those people, hopefully this 101 guide on how to do it helps you. And if you're a zoo out there who gets interview requests a lot, feel free to keep this saved and send it to the next person who asks you "Can I interview you" in the DMs. If they aren't willing to read this article, they probably aren't worth your time to talk to. 
Happy interviewing! 
Article written by Tarro (April 2024)
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