ACEP: Effective Media Interview Techniques
When responding to a request from an Internet reporter, follow the same tips for telephone interviews. When doing a Web chat, make sure you have the technical skill to type in responses accurately and quickly, or else designate someone to do it for you.
Inside this ACEP Article you’ll learn about:
- Why Give Interviews?
- Pre-Interviewing Basics
- Dos & Don’ts of Interviewing
- Print Media
- Face-To-Face Interviewing Tips
- Telephone Interviewing Tips
- News Interview Tips
- Remote Television Interviewing Tips
- Radio Interviews/Podcast Interviews
- Internet Media
Effective Media Interview Techniques
The news media help shape public opinion on health issues. A basic understanding of a reporter’s job and a few interviewing techniques can increase your effectiveness in communicating key messages in interviews.
Most journalists are professionals and have degrees in journalism or related fields. Although professionally trained as reporters, they are not necessarily content experts on every subject they cover. They rely on experts for facts and commentary.
Reporters work in a competitive environment. Tight space, time constraints, and decisions made by editors, directors, and producers ultimately determine what stays or gets cut from a story. Reporters who write for monthly publications such as magazines have longer lead times, but television reporters often get assignments in the morning to produce news stories for the evening news. This means less time to research stories, interview sources, and write.
Late-breaking news stories can “bump” scheduled stories to later dates or indefinitely. When information you provided does not appear in a story, don’t assume the reporter has ignored what you said.
The reporter’s purposes in an interview are to:
Gain understanding of issues.
- Collect relevant facts.
- Obtain quotes from reputable sources.
- Balance opposing views.
Contrary to common perceptions, most interviews are not “investigative” in nature. Reporters are trained to gather news quickly and accurately by conducting interviews with expert sources like you. However, their initial questions may not always convey the true nature of the interview; therefore never take a call cold. Always find out the nature of the interview before you agree to do it.