Tips for Working With the Media
Do your homework
- keep up with your topics
- read the publication
- watch the program for which you will be interviewed
Don't take cold calls
- get information and call back within the reporter's deadline.
Whether to interview:
- Don't do an interview outside of your range of knowledge.
- Don't do an interview if you haven't rehearsed.
Preparing for the interview:
- Create 3 to 5 talking points.
- Anticipate the questions, and practice the answers.
- Practice being brief, think "sound bites". Figure on less than 30 seconds for radio/television.
- Prepare a fact sheet on your topic and fax it to the reporter before your interview, alerting the reporter to complicated but important points.
- Never go off the record. There is no such thing.
- State your key talking points during the interview.
- Use transitional bridges to keep your message on track:
- "What's important here is"
- "The bottom line is"
- "The real issue is"
- "Let me explain something"
- "Let's get back to the data"
- "That's a good question, but what is really important is..."
- "I'd like to make this point before I continue."
- "Let me give you the latest information on…that is really interesting."
- Be concise in your responses to prevent being misquoted.
- Don't volunteer negatives.
- Don't repeat inaccurate information.
- Don't speculate or answer hypotheticals.
- Don't be afraid to say "I don't know."
- Avoid jargon.
- If being quoted, request to have quotes read back to you.
- Correct misinformation.