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Busted: Broadcast Media Interview Myths

 Hint: Pulling off an effortless interview is harder than it looks. What are the pros' secrets to success?

While news anchors and hosts can make broadcast appearances appear easy to do, there are several myths when it comes to media interviews. While our team is typically behind the camera, we secure media interviews for our clients every day and train spokespeople before they go in front of the camera. So about those myths…let’s dispel a few of them.

Myth #1: It's A Lot Like Giving A Speech.

It’s often said that giving an interview is comparable to giving a speech in front of a large crowd. This can be true in some ways. For example, you may be nervous beforehand. Also, the more you prepare the better you’ll do.

There are also many ways in which they’re very different. When you give a speech, you have full control of your dialogue. When you’re in a media interview, the reporter has control of the questions. You must think on your feet and answer them on the spot. Additionally, during a speech you have the luxury of not focusing on any one individual. During an interview, there is a camera in your face and a reporter with whom you need to maintain eye contact.


Unless you paid for an advertising spot, this will likely not happen. Reporters have a job to report on the news and keep their viewers informed. And with shrinking news budgets, they’re often understaffed and overworked. They don’t have the time to do this even if they wanted to.

It’s not personal, but after your interview they must move to the next breaking news story and still edit all their footage before the next air time. Reporters likely only show up in the first place because their producer assigned them to interview you with only a brief synopsis of what to discuss. So in the news world, let’s consider it a win that a reporter covers your story in the first place.

Myth #3: You know what you’re talking about. You’ll do fine.

Knowing the topic is certainly helpful, but it’s not all you need. You only have so much time to convey your message in an interview, so it’s important to be concise and easy to understand. In fact, many broadcast interviews will be cut into a few 30-second soundbites.

For every interview, we provide our clients with key messages and talking points to speak to during the interview. Often, three or four of them are the most central to convey. It’s important to put these talking points in your own words so they come naturally, and then remember them. People are more likely to remember something they see or hear seven times, so we recommend saying each talking point into a mirror at least seven times. No matter what questions are thrown your way, you can always come back to these messages.

MYTH #4: It's like riding a bike. If you did an interview 10 years ago, you can wing the next one.

Doing an interview is less like riding a bike and more like playing a sport or instrument – the only way to get better is practice. Sure, you may get lucky and slam dunk a few answers, but there’s always room for improvement.

We prepare our clients by reviewing a media brief with details about the opportunity and tips and tricks for the interview before they go on camera. When possible, we also offer in-depth media training for spokespeople at all different stages. Even if you do all that, practice is still what makes perfect. There’s a reason you had to do all that homework in grade school.

To schedule a media training, contact our team today!

Sarah Osment

Posted By Sarah Osment

Sarah is always ready for her next adventure, whether its whipping up a new pie in the kitchen, traveling to a new destination or letting the paints fly across the canvas. When she’s not covered in paint or pie dough, Sarah is playing with her “little dinosaur,” a labradoodle named Stega.