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Before the Interview

There are several questions you want answered before you agree to an interview. Some people are hesitant to ask these questions, but the more knowledge you have, the more prepared you will be. You won't lose an interview because you will be sure to answer these questions.

  • What's the format of the outlet? Print? Broadcast?

  • What's the interview about?

  • What's your organization's role in the piece being proposed? Are you the focus or just a supporting player? Who else are they interviewing?

  • Which outlet is it for? Ask about the reader- or viewership to determine if it reaches your target audience. You shouldn't necessarily turn down an interview if it doesn't, though you probably won't make it a priority.

  • Ask if they are a weekly or a daily? A conservative show or paper? How many viewers, reader or listeners does it have?

  • What's the format of the interview? Is it a one-on-one, a debate, or another format?

  • Are you part of a panel? If it is a broadcast interview, will it be live, edited on tape, is it a call-in?

  • How long will the interview last?

  • For print pieces, do they need a photo? Usually they will take their own pictures, so be prepared if they plan to have a photographer snapping away at you while you speak.

  • For broadcast interviews, do they need b-roll or will they need to pre-interview the spokesperson?

If you are comfortable with the answers to all of these questions, and you feel this interview gives you a good opportunity to get out your organization's messages, go for it. If you don't feel you are the right messenger for the show, consider suggesting someone else from your list of spokespeople who might be more appropriate or who could make a stronger statement.

If the story just isn't on the right topic or won't give you the forum to discuss what you want to discuss, consider turning it down. Spend your time on something that will let you get your message out.

Back to Successful Interviewing.

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