aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Got a media interview coming up?

In my previous life, I worked in PR. I was interviewed a few times on camera (which taught me that no matter what, you never dressed down at work) and sometimes had to quickly coach others.

So if it’s not so fun media, remember:
- You are never off the record.
- You should never lie.
- The microphone is always on.
- Don’t get angry at even an inflammatory question – the viewer or listener seldom hears it.
- Don’t restate an inaccurate question “Why does our hospital have the worst safety record in the city?”
- If the premise of the question is wrong, correct the mistake. “Let me clarify that for you.”
- Don’t say “no comment.” Explain why you can’t answer.

For good and bad media:
- Write down your message in three sentences or less.
- Practice saying it out loud.
- Eliminate jargon.
- Include a specific interesting example or fact.
- Practice.

Once on camera:
- Speak to the reporter. The camera is like a third silent person at the interview. You might occasionally glance at it to acknowledge its presence, but don’t stare directly at it.
- Don’t stare at the mic as it moves toward you.
- Let the reporter hold the mic.
- Open your face and eyes and avoid squinting.
- Avoid tiny prints that could create a moiré pattern.
- Dock slouch or rock back and forth. [I'll try to find a funny story I know about that one.]
- Avoid large, flashy earrings.
- Don’t treat the cameraman like a dumb button pusher.

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