Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to do a TV news or press interview: Two easy but very effective techniques anyone can learn (two instructional videos below).

Rephrase the question and Give to Get.

For example:

Reporter (location: Bryant Park): “Aren’t you afraid of going near the water because of all the algae in the water?”
Interviewee: “No. What algae you do see occurs naturally. Did you know people rent and bring kayaks all the time to use our Intracoastal? The ramps are right over there. Did you know Willie Howard was here a little while ago to go paddling? Hes a reporter too. I’m sure he would be happy to provide more information.
     By the way, did you know our City has a press spokesman? His name is Ben Kerr.* He can help you find information and answers to questions I don’t have at the moment. Do you have a business card so I can let Mr. Kerr know you were here today and need more information?”

Understand that most reporters, TV news and the press, are a good bunch and highly professional.† When you see a reporter don’t hesitate to walk up and say, “Hi” and strike up a conversation. If they’re in a hurry the best of the best will hand you a card and apologize for not being able to stay.

Keep the card handy to contact the reporter later on.

A little trick: Most of the time you’ll find the video crew to be very polite and respectful. Sometimes the best way to get information to a reporter is to “bend the ear” of the crew. They’ll pass that information on if he or she thinks it’s important to get the story narrative correct.

But what do you do if you’re approached by a reporter asking leading, hostile questions?

First pause for a moment! Never respond quickly. Take your time and think it out for a moment. Then. . .
  • “Rephrase the question”
  • “Give to Get”
This short 2-minute video explains how these techniques work:

Don’t let any of the press or the media “spin” what is happening in and around our little City. Try this technique if a reporter approaches and asks you a leading question: Take a deep breath, pause, and remember what to do.
Rephrase the question and then Give to Get”.

Now for another example: A news crew showed up at Lake Worth City Hall last year (see video below) during discussion about moving forward with the referendum to fix the roads and potholes. However, despite all the efforts by one particular City commissioner to put a negative “spin” on the referendum, he failed. That referendum later passed overwhelmingly last November with 69% saying, “Yes” to the bond.

The positive messages won the day at that Commission meeting.

If you see an interview in progress and hear false and/or misleading information being given to a reporter don’t hesitate to walk up and get the facts out. Approach the reporter and ask to be interviewed and remember to be polite, respectful, stay calm, and don’t get too excited. Just stick to the facts.

Study the body language closely in the video below, e.g., hand gestures, posture, reassuring facial expressions, smiles, and try using these techniques the next time you’re interviewed by the media and press (please note, if you’re short on time, watch this three-minute segment of the video below and practice these techniques yourself in front of a mirror).

*Ben Kerr, the City’s Communications Specialist, can be reached at 561-586-1631; email:
When interviewed by the TV news or press ALWAYS GET THE REPORTERS CONTACT INFORMATION, either a business card or write down their phone number and/or email. When the news hits the print edition or airs on TV and there is a reporting error you want that corrected as soon as possible.

1 comment:

Jana said...

watching this for the first time. Thank you, God, the election turned out like it did. You are very funny, Wes.