5 Questions To Ask Before Agreeing To An Interview

The lead-up to an on air interview often feels frantic. Internal and external pressures, prep to do, lines to check… Yet however tight that deadline is, there are at least 5 questions you must ask before you agree to the interview:

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 you have no earthly clue who any of them are. Check at every stage of the production process about the nature of the interview. If other guests are expected, it is entirely legitimate to find out who they are. Then make a judgment call as to whether this is the sort of environment you want to be in.

3) How long is the interview expected to last? 

This gives you a sense of the on air experience you are about to have and a chance to plan accordingly. Don’t expect the producers to stick to what they tell you however, particularly if you are part of a live sequence.

4) What is the subject matter for the interview? 

This is crucial, and fairly obvious. However don’t confuse this with, “what will the questions be?” You’re unlikely to be told anyway, and even if you are, what you are promised is often very different to what you get. Good interview preparation is thorough but flexible, not a rigid script.

5) Who is the presenter? 

Always worth asking. Every presenter has a style, and it’s worth finding out as much as you can about the person who will be asking you the questions. Pop their name into youtube and do a bit of intelligence gathering on the person sitting across from you in the studio.

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By |22 February 2021|

“Media Training A-Z”: D is for Delta

Apparently in limb surgery, the terms abduction and adduction sound so similar that a surgeon may say “Let’s proceed with the A-B Duction” just so everyone in the operating theatre is on the same wavelength. Interviews might not be such a life changing process but it’s worth journalists hearing what you want them to hear. So in a press briefing via the phone or Skype – do clarify: “That’s 14 – 1-4 per cent”, because fourteen sounds very like forty especially if reception isn’t the greatest. Of course you can’t sound as starchy as the speaking clock on radio or TV and so instead take your time over those key words and phrases.

By |19 February 2021|

“Media Training A-Z” – C is for Champion

New initiatives are often supported by well honed publicity but beware borrowing straplines and slogans to use on air. For a start they’re often written and geared for a specific purpose such as for digital ads or the splash on a banner stand. When inserted in to a conversation they can just sound a little bit empty or even phoney. Take the principles of that new initiative and start talking in a way that makes sense conversationally. Otherwise you might appear more like a well choreographed cheerleader with pom poms at the ready.

By |7 February 2021|

Media News – 5th February

RTS Awards:
The RTS Television Journalism Awards nominations were announced last week. Top Lines include:
1) John King, CNN’s election wizard (who managed to demonstrate an encyclopaedic knowledge of the US electoral map despite having about 3 hours sleep in a week) is the first overseas presenter ever to be nominated.
2) The BBC’s Clive Myrie is nominated twice – for Network Presenter (alongside King and Victoria Derbyshire) and Television Journalist (alongside Alex Crawford and Robert Moore).
3) Two of the three nominees for Specialist Journalist are from Channel 4 News – Gary Gibbon and Victoria Macdonald.
Full list of nominations here
New European:
A consortium including Mark Thompson and Lionel Barber has conducted a management buy-out of The New European. Amol Rajan broke the story
Fox News:
“The network seems to have made a chaotic lunge towards the right wing in recent weeks as hosts have dabbled in conspiracy theories and aggressively attacked the Joe Biden administration.”

Fox News lurches further to the right to win back ‘hard-edge’ Trump supporters.

By |7 February 2021|




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