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.

The interview:

  • 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.