PR Resources » Interviewing Hints

Newspaper Interviews:

  • If you receive a call from a reporter, get back to them as soon as possible! Newspapers run on extremely tight schedules and if you want to be in the story, respond immediately.
  • These interviews may be quite long so be prepared to give the reporter as much time as they need. Be prepared to give details and facts.
  • Make sure the reporter knows they can come back to you if they have questions later when they are putting the story on paper.

Television Interviews:

  • These interviews tend to be very short - most stories air in 30 seconds or less - so be brief with your answers.
  • While the cameraman is setting up the equipment, ask the reporter any questions you have.
  • Talk to the reporter, not the camera.
  • Appear relaxed, confident, and friendly in your body language.
  • Try to suggest a good spot within your building or pick an interesting backdrop for the interview.
  • Remember, this is the one interview situation that does require you to "look good." Wear solid colors or simple patterns. Always look professional and "ready" for the interview.

Radio Interviews:

  • Radio interviews are generally short, so keep your answers that way.
  • Find out if the interview is live or taped. It can be either and this will help you decide how prepared you need to be.
  • Remember who your audience is for radio interviews. It will be difficult for them to capture every word you say while they are driving in their car or running around the house.
  • Speak clearly and avoid complicated or highly jargon language that would be difficult for the audience to understand.

If dealing with a crisis or controversial situation:

  • Never, ever say, "No comment." The reporter will use this to their advantage. It is always better to comment and share your "side of the story."
  • Answer only what is asked. Listen carefully to the question posed by the media and answer it in a succinct, straightforward manner.
  • Help the reporter better understand the issue. Serve as an "educator" on the issue.
  • Answer the questions in a sincere and honest tone. Don't be sarcastic.
  • If an answer does not immediately come to mind, buy a little bit of time by rephrasing the question, asking the reporter to repeat it, or asking for clarification on the question.
  • If you stumble with your answer, and it is possible, ask the reporter to edit your mistake or say something along the lines, "I think I need to clear that up a bit."
  • And remember, anything you say can end up in print or on the air. So if you do not want it repeated, don't say it!