Public Relations & the Media
Tips for the Interview
Interviews for television generally may last from 3 to 5
minutes. This may not seem like
a long time, but it can be forever in front of a camera.
Radio interviews may be from 10 to
30 minutes. Newspaper interviews vary in time and may be done
over the telephone or
in person. Make sure you have all of the necessary information
to complete a successful
interview. Remember to:
- Speak clearly and audibly.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
Do not allow eyes to wander around the
- Have correct facts and figures.
- Be compelling. Make the audience
believe and care about what is being said.
- Know what you are
- Be positive and informative.
- Address all issues that are identified
as key messages.
- Dress well, but do not over-dress. Too much “costume” will
take the viewer’s
attention away from the message.
- Know the organizational mission
- Provide viewers or listeners with a “call to
you want them to do with
the information they are being given.
- Do not use professional
or medical jargon.
- Be enthusiastic about getting the message
to the public.
- If a family is being interviewed in their home,
remind them to clean the room in
which the interview will take place.
- Use verbal and nonverbal
language and signs to emphasize key points.
- Avoid over-answering
questions during interviews. Be clear, concise and compelling
with your answers.
- Do not be afraid to repeat your message.
Tips for you to effectively
answer a reporter’s questions:
- When a reporter contacts
you, reply back immediately. Be prepared to ask him or
- What is your deadline?
- What questions do you have?
- Who else have you contacted?
- Do not be afraid to ask, “Can
I call you back in an hour to research your
questions and find the right spokesperson for you?”
- It is important that everyone in your group is
clear about the message
being conveyed. Have your message points written out and
them before being interviewed. Do not be afraid to repeat
- Your response to any question should tie back to your
- If you are able to schedule an interview, prepare yourself
through a role-play.
- Do not be afraid to say you do not know.
- If you are unable
to answer a reporter’s question, refer
someone who can.
- If you realize you stated an incorrect fact
or misstated your thoughts,
immediately let the reporter know.
- Provide any information that
you may have for an upcoming story.
- Reporters appreciate the
gesture and this helps to build connections with
- Building rapport with a reporter will give you
a better opportunity to frame
your story for the public.