All of your well-placed media information efforts may result in contact from the media. Media interviews
provide an excellent opportunity to develop credibility and a strong professional image for your organization
and its programs.
Here are some guidelines to ensure a positive working relationship:
Always promptly return a reporter's phone call
Be attentive to the reporter's demands and help them meet their deadlines
Have additional facts handy
Suggest additional knowledgeable people (and phone numbers). You may increase your chances of getting your
story on the air or published if you can tell the station where to reach a second spokesperson (from a
Have willing, informed and prepare staff on hand to be spokespersons
Be ready at any time. Media requests almost never come at preferred times.
Everything you say can be quoted. Parts of sentences - even words or sentence fragments that are totally out
of context - can be used.
Take Time To Prepare
Plan up to three main messages you want to get across during the interview
Think of ways to explain in ways that are easy to understand such as analogies
Do not stress out. Most interviews are very easy and over very quickly
Remember: You are the expert, that is why they want to talk to you
Prepare any evidence or examples.
Try to think of possible questions and how you will answer
During the Interview
It will go by surprising fast - get your main points across right away
To increase your chances of being quoted, particularly for broadcast media, talk in colorful language and
use bold, short, catchy statements (“sound bites”)
Listen carefully to the question and take your time to formulate an answer; an example or analogy may be
used to clarify your answer.
Be concise and keep your language simple (no jargon), as though you were explaining to your neighbor. If
needed, it's alright to stop and rephrase your answer.
Explain how your issues affect people.
Volunteer important information. You do not have to wait for the reporter to ask.
If you feel strongly about the issue, do not be afraid to let your feelings show.
Always tell the truth, do not fudge or hedge. If you are not authorized to give certain information, connect
them with the person who is.
If complete information is not yet available, tell the reporter when you expect to have that information and
Do not use “no comment” or “I’m not going to speculate” as it implies that you have something to hide.
If you do not have the answer to a question, get back to them with the answer (keeping deadlines in mind).
Do not say anything “off the record” or “off-microphone” as there is no guarantee these comments will remain
Wear plain, neutral colors with simple accessories; your “look” should not distract from your content. For
technical reasons, avoid wearing solid white.
Practice your key points in simple, direct language.
Do not start the interview until you are physically comfortable, check that your chair is stable and will
not rock or swivel unexpectedly.
Speak to the interviewer, not the camera.
Double check the time, arrive early if you are interviewing in-studio, be clear about who calls whom if it
is a phone interview.
Do not use an intercom phone or mobile phone - the sound gets distorted
When doing a telephone interview do not speak straight into the mouth piece - keep it a bit away from your
mouth and do not move the phone around because the noise will transfer
Do the interview in a quiet area-close your door.
Do not worry about voice. You do not need a professional, velvet voice. But it helps to have your
explanations concise and organized.
Be sure to thank the reporter
Give him or her your number in case of further questions
Ask when to expect the interview to appear in the paper/radio/TV
Expect he occasional error or misquote-complain only if it is terribly serious, and if then start with the
reporter and move your way up, if need be.
If you are pleased with a resulting story, feel free to call and thank the reporter or send a note through email
or mail. This makes you stand out!