Interview Crib Sheet

Try This test. Next time you plan to talk with a reporter, review these pointers first.

1. What’s the story? Tell the reporter you want to know the gist of the story first to gather facts.

2. Don’t rush it. Unless a reporter is up against a tight deadline, you don’t have to be interviewed on the spot. Set a time; even an hour later can help.

3. Ask questions of the reporter
a)How did the reporter happen upon the story?
b) Who else is being interviewed?

4. Review the latest material beforehand, create quotes you would like to see.

5. Tell the truth. Never lie…it’s not worth it.

6. Never go off the record unless you know the source very well and he/she values the relationship.

7. Always participate. “No comment” carries the stigma of assumed
guilt. Unless there is absolutely no good to come from the interview, participate. You will have a say in the outcome.

8. Never get mad! It only makes you look bad.

9. Feel free to call after a story runs if you have something constructive to say. Reporters appreciate this.

10. Update the reporter if something happens after the story that you may want them to know.

Why Media Training is Important

At Haese & Wood, we think it is of utmost importance to provide media training for key product spokespersons who, in addition to selling their product, must also “tell their story” to the media.  The main purpose of media training is to raise each executive’s comfort level when working with the press.  The program includes understanding how journalists work, what makes them tick and where questions come from.

Regardless of how many interviews one has done, no one has ever left our media training sessions without feeling that he or she has gained tremendous experience and knowledge as a result of the session.

A full or half-day training can help you to:

  • Recognize and understand interview formats and interviewer styles
  • Take the lead in interview and direct it to a particular point of view
  • Answer questions both quickly and succinctly, and get specific points across as a     goal of the interview
  • Handle crisis communications situations
  • Avoid information overload in interviews
  • Effectively communicate the organization’s messages in interviews with print and broadcast media
  • Demonstrate and practice various interview techniques and formats, with attention to such details as body language, use of buzz words and specific mannerisms
  • Develop an awareness of and sensitivity to consumer and constituency issues related to the company, particularly as viewed by the media.