Author Archive

06
Dec

Five on…reasons to say no to an interview

1) No junctions reached Remember that you need compelling and interesting content. If every answer is likely to be prefaced with, “it’s too early to say…” then it might be better to bide your time. 2)  Your headspace There might be all sorts of reasons why you are in the wrong headspace for an interview. Ultimately it is your reputation on the line as well as that of your organisation. Feel free to resist the (often internal) pressure if there is a personal ...

06
Dec

Five On…Questions you must always ask

1) Is the interview live or pre-recorded? An important question to ask, but treat both the same. Your energy levels shouldn't be any different for a pre-record. Additionally assume the producer will forget to edit your interview before broadcast. (I can speak from personal experience that this happens all the time…) 2) Am I the only guest being interviewed? Your worst case scenario is to be ushered into a studio full of people ready to debate with you - and for ...

14
Nov

Five On…Journalist Tricks (Part 2)

You can revisit 1-5 from last week here. Now part two... 6) SILENCE Silence can be used as a way of encouraging you to keep on talking. Don't feel forced to fill it. Make your point and stop, or link away. 7) THE SMILING ASSASSIN You want to establish empathy but don't be lured into a false sense of security. This is particularly dangerous in a radio studio where there can often be a more intimate, confessional atmosphere. Maintain a careful framework ...

09
Nov

Five On…Journalist Tricks (Part 1)

1) THE SHORT QUESTION You’ve not much time to think when the question is five words long -or less. Be prepared and take your time. Remember the pause. 2) THE NOT-A-QUESTION QUESTION Leaving a provocative statement hanging in the air. Don’t be tempted with sarcasm (“I’m sorry but was there a question there?”) but don’t rise to the bait either. 3) THE PUT DOWN “But we’ve heard this all many times before...” You are made to feel jaded; retain your conviction and don’t be deterred. 4) PUTTING ...

03
Nov

Five On…the lead up to a live interview

1) Beware of careless chatter with the producer on the way to the studio It’s often a fairly long walk from reception to studio. Keep the conversation banal. Don’t reveal confidential information, doubts about the veracity of your evidence, or whether you are the right person to be doing the interview. I’ve heard all of these over the years. 2) Expect to be kept waiting It’s always worth checking as soon as you arrive whether the running order is on schedule. Accept (within ...

03
Nov

Five On…Telephone Interviews

1) It should be a last resort Try and get to a broadcast point if you can. Telephone interviews are often dropped by producers who have over-filled their running orders. It's harder to ditch the person that has made the effort to come into the studio. 2) Always a landline Mobiles cut out. They run out of battery. And news alerts and notifications can distract. 3) Create the right environment Aim for a room where you won't be disturbed. It's often good to opt for somewhere ...

23
Oct

Five On…Twitter

1) For many journalists, Twitter is the first place they turn to when sourcing guests for a story. Many use an app called Followerwonk, which searches Twitter biographies, so make sure yours contains the appropriate keywords. 2) If you are commenting on, or at the centre of a major news story, make sure you (or someone) is across Twitter, as journalists may well be using it to source lines of questioning on the topic. 3) If you have an off-air briefing ...

13
Oct

Five On…What To Wear

Five on…what to wear 1) What you wear matters as much for radio as TV. Many radio studios have webcams and some now film their output to distribute as social media clips. 2) Avoid clothing with detailed patterns and stripes. This can strobe. 3) Avoid distracting accessories, logos or novelty ties. (Jon Snow might be able to get away with it. You won’t…) 4)  You will usually wear a clip mic in a TV studio, therefore don’t wear anything round your neck (scarves or ...

09
Oct

Five On…interview cliches

Comparisons can be powerful in interviews. However, where creative comparisons inspire, cliched comparisons bore and irritate. Therefore from now on could we all please avoid... 1) Wembley Stadium "The number of people affected could fill Wembley Stadium 25 times over..." Imagine the queues on the Jubilee line 2) Olympic Size swimming pools "The amount of water produced could fill five Olympic-size swimming pools..." One to avoid, particular in an actual Olympic year when everyone else is jumping on this sporting band-wagon 3) Wales "The area affected is five times the ...

25
Sep

Five On…off-air briefings

Five on...off air briefings This short telephone chat with a producer in the lead-up to going on air can be a good way to control the flow of information. Here are some tips:  1) Be proactive Some producers will demand off-air briefings, but many won’t. When the idea of an interview is first mooted, always request a short telephone interview with the producer assigned the story 2) Be prepared A bad off-air briefing will leave the producer more confused at the end of the call ...