3 Expert Interviewing Tips to Handle the Media Like a Pro

Posted By: Maria Satira SEDC News,

3 Expert Interviewing Tips to Handle the Media Like a Pro

Author: Maria Satira 
Director of Marketing 
and Communications 
Greenville ENC Alliance

With your next big project announcement or press release, you might receive an interview request from a local or regional media outlet. Positive press about economic growth is an exciting opportunity – especially when you can showcase your economic development organization as a leader or partner. As a former local news anchor and reporter who now works in economic development, I have a unique perspective on interviewing since I’ve been on both sides of the microphone. Here are my top three tips for a giving a successful media interview:


1. Keep it Short and Sweet

While it is your time to shine, the interviews used in a media interview are usually only a couple sentences in newspaper or 15 to 30 seconds in television. This isn’t a lot of space or time within the news piece, so you need to make the most of it. I recommend keeping your answers detailed, yet brief. Speaking in short, complete sentences will help you communicate your message smoothly and clearly. In the television world, this is called “speaking in soundbites” and it always makes the interviewee look and sound great.


2. Focus on the Impact

Your interview should share a humanizing component that demonstrates the meaning of the project. You’ve already provided the reporter with the facts and figures of job creation, capital investment, and list of support partners. Now, they’re interviewing you to find out what this really means for the community. Use this opportunity to talk about the impact, the opportunity, and the excitement.


3. Fully Answer Each Question 

If a reporter asks a question that may have a similar answer to a previous question, don’t skip around it or refer to a previous answer. Avoid saying “like I said before” or “as previously mentioned.” The reporter might be asking a similar question because they want you to respond in a similar, yet slightly different way. For example, if they really liked a portion of a response, but it didn’t seem complete or was too long-winded, they might try to bring you back to that specific point so they can extract a clear, concise quote.