Preparing Your Message for the Media

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NDSU Ag Communication staff use this program to teach faculty, staff and others how to be interviewed by the print and broadcast media.

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Preparing Your Message for the Media

  1. 1. The Key to Interviews: Preparing Your Message for the Media
  2. 2. Agenda Setting <ul><li>What the public thinks </li></ul><ul><li>depends on </li></ul><ul><li>what the public hears </li></ul><ul><li>first </li></ul>
  3. 3. Establish Rapport
  4. 4. Understanding the Media <ul><li>Short deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Time/space limitations </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters cover all topics </li></ul><ul><li>Editors don’t check </li></ul>
  5. 5. Critical News Consumption <ul><li>National and international news </li></ul><ul><li>Local impact </li></ul><ul><li>Both sides of the story </li></ul>
  6. 6. Types of Media Work <ul><li>Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Contact lists </li></ul><ul><li>Fact sheets </li></ul><ul><li>Background information </li></ul>
  7. 7. Before Accepting the Interview <ul><li>What issues will be discussed? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will do the interview? </li></ul><ul><li>What are possible sidebar issues? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Preparing for the Interview <ul><li>Write out 3 brief positive points -- mental 3x5 cards, “commercials” </li></ul><ul><li>Have them ready for each possible issue </li></ul><ul><li>Put your “commercials” up front </li></ul>
  9. 9. Anticipate Likely Questions <ul><li>Plan answers </li></ul><ul><li>Bridge to 3x5s </li></ul><ul><li>Return to message </li></ul><ul><li>Rehearse if possible </li></ul>
  10. 10. For Surprise Interviews <ul><li>Take a few minutes to plan message </li></ul><ul><li>Get resources in front of you </li></ul><ul><li>You can refuse the interview </li></ul>
  11. 11. Background Information is Usually Welcome <ul><li>Fact sheets </li></ul><ul><li>Other people </li></ul><ul><li>Concise information </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Interview <ul><li>Be positive; don’t repeat negatives </li></ul><ul><li>Bridge answers to your “commercials” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Be Confident; You’re the Expert <ul><li>The situation is under control </li></ul><ul><li>Be comfortable with what you say </li></ul><ul><li>Eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Body language </li></ul>
  14. 14. Avoid Speculation, Hypotheticals <ul><li>You can’t predict the future </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t respond with personal opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to the current situation </li></ul>
  15. 15. Avoid Technical Terms, Jargon, Acronyms <ul><li>Use words and descriptions the audience will understand </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t let the reporter’s knowledge cloud the level of your answer </li></ul>
  16. 16. Don’t Say, “No comment” <ul><li>If you can’t answer, </li></ul><ul><li>explain why </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing is off the record </li></ul>
  17. 17. Don’t be Afraid to Say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.”
  18. 18. On-Camera Appearance <ul><li>Clothing </li></ul><ul><li>Glasses </li></ul><ul><li>Hats </li></ul><ul><li>Jewelry </li></ul><ul><li>Distractions </li></ul><ul><li>Body movement and gestures </li></ul>
  19. 19. Keep Answers to 20 Seconds or So <ul><li>Be concise </li></ul><ul><li>Speak conversationally </li></ul><ul><li>Include the question in your answer </li></ul><ul><li>Answer in a complete sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t feed the mike </li></ul>
  20. 20. Keep Your Eyes on the Interviewer <ul><li>Look at interviewer, not camera </li></ul>
  21. 21. Don’t Fill Dead Air <ul><li>Take a few seconds to form your answer </li></ul><ul><li>Start over or rephrase if you want </li></ul>
  22. 22. Be Honest, and Assert Yourself <ul><li>Trust and credibility are difficult to rebuild once lost </li></ul><ul><li>You can control the interview </li></ul>
  23. 23. Practice <ul><li>Select a topic </li></ul><ul><li>Write 3-5 bullet messages </li></ul><ul><li>PS Send Ag Com photos </li></ul>

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