When you receive a media inquiry
Find out the reporter’s deadline.
- Ask what the goal of the story is and what they are looking for.
- Never answer questions before you are prepared. It is perfectly acceptable to let the reporter know that you will call back – even if you need a few minutes to prepare your thoughts.
- Preparing for an interview
Keep it simple.
- Develop 3 to 5 talking points for your message. These are the main ideas you want to emphasize during your interview.
- Focus on a story to make your point – either a personal story or a patient story.
- Wear the right clothing. Dress conservatively. Never go more casual than “business casual.” You will never be overdressed wearing a suit. Never wear the color white, as it can make the subject look washed out. Try not to wear “busy” patterns or
- heavy jewelry, as television tends to exaggerate patterns or make them look odd.
- Contact TACHC for guidance, data or other support.
During the interview
- Maintain eye contact. Don’t look at the camera.
- Stand or sit up straight.
- Give short answers. Don’t get mired in details.
- Avoid acronyms.
- Stay in your comfort zone.
- If you are not comfortable with the content of a question, you can: 1) offer to get the information and get back to the reporter; 2) direct the reporter to someone else who is a content expert in that area.
- Stick to your message.
- If the reporter’s questions veer into another direction or asks you to speculate, use something called a “bridge” to bring the conversation back to your message. EX: Q: “Do you think there will be a massive Zika outbreak in Texas?” A: “I’m not going to speculate. What’s important here…” Or, “We’re here today to talk about…”
- Unless the interview is live, don’t be afraid to ask to re-do an answer.
- Never assume any information you share is “off the record.