Media Relations

Media Relations

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Can you say “no comment” to a reporter?

We wouldn’t suggest it. No comment is a very strong comment and is often perceived as negative. The reporter and readers or viewers may think you’re trying to hide something. Having said that, do not feel obligated to respond to a question about something confidential or off-limits. You might choose instead to say something like: “As you know, we are in ongoing legal discussions. You asked an important question, however, for legal reasons I cannot presently respond. I’ll be glad to discuss the results with you as soon as we can.”

Where should I look during a media interview?

If a reporter is interviewing you face-to-face, you should look at the reporter. If it’s a televised “through the lens” interview – with the reporter at a different location, and a camera in your face – then you should look into the camera to your viewers. You may want to pretend that someone you know is in the lens, and talk to that “person”.

How can I prevent reporters from misquoting me?

If you were misquoted, you may have spoken too quickly or perhaps your answers were too long-worded. During any print interview, speak slowly and lead with your conclusion or message. Answer the question in two to three simply constructed sentences.

What do I do if I’m misquoted?

If a reporter misquotes you during the interview, politely correct the reporter without coming across as defensive. You might say something like, “I’m sorry, that’s incorrect. Please allow me to clarify…” and then offer your correction.

What if I don’t like how I answered a question?

If your interview is being recorded, you can pause and let the reporter know that you feel your answer was inadequate. Explain that you’d like to take it again. Do not abuse this practice, but a fair reporter will give you a “second take.”

How do I use a teleprompter?

Before the event:

  • Read your script silently 3 times; imagine yourself saying the words with expression.
  • Dissect the script. Put one slash after each natural pause, and two slashes after each complete pause. Underline key words for emphasis.
  • Read the script aloud several times for comfort & naturalness, conversational manner, gestures.

At the event:

  • Read the first two lines before the scroll moves. Then, always read from the middle of the screen. You lead the pace – the operator will follow you.
  • Stand erect – 18″ from the lectern.
  • Inhale – visually see 2 lines.
  • Exhale – speak those 2 lines.
  • Periodically change head position.

Should I stand behind the lectern or center stage?

It depends. If you have notes on the lectern or slides on your laptop, you may need to stay behind the lectern to access your information. Yet most people present more dynamically when they step away from the lectern to center stage. You may choose to stand at center stage to tell a story. You might also choose to speak from bullet notes and stay at center stage the whole time. Make sure to have a lavaliere microphone if you do that, or your audience might not hear you. If you use projected content, remember to never stand in front of it, or where you are likely to block someone’s view.

How many messages should I prepare for an interview?

We recommend that you prepare one key message for any interview. Your message should be ten words or less in length and you should be able to support your message with anecdotes and examples.

Do reporters purposefully try to trip you up during an interview?

Good reporters want good stories. They need interesting, newsworthy content. If you answer with noteworthy content, a compelling message and interesting stories, you are giving the reporter what he or she needs.

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