Thursday, March 14, 2019

Learn how to do a proper TV news interview in just ten minutes!

Below are the instructions how to do an interview for the TV news media and all you need is a mirror and about 10–15 minutes a day. Really. It’s that easy.

Let’s take this scenario:

You show up at Lake Worth Beach City Hall and you see news vans and cameras and reporters standing around with notepads and one or more of them want to interview you. You could just decline and walk away.

Or. . .

This blog post includes instructional videos (see below) and according to feedback from my readers many have found this information to be very helpful.

For example, 2½ years ago prior to the City of Lake Worth’s Neighborhood Road Bond referendum in Nov. 2016 a certain member of the local press and news media (to go unnamed) were showing up around the City trying to get negative responses and spin the referendum in a very negative way.

That effort, am happy to report, ended up in vain. The referendum to fix our roads and potholes passed by a whopping 69%. But the problem remained: When a reporter is bent on spinning an issue negatively or making the City look bad, how should the unsuspecting public react?

For example, have you or someone you know ever been approached by a reporter asking for comment and maybe were surprised to see on TV or in the paper your positive comments went unreported but the one negative thing you said is what appeared in the news!

Or. . . Are you a seasoned pro dealing with the press and news media? How does one quickly teach the average person in the public how to give a TV news or press interview? It’s easy!

Rephrase the question
Give to Get.

To learn these two very effective techniques. . .

All you need to practice and become proficient is
a full-body mirror and 10 minutes.

Understand that most reporters in 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 or an intern following along to be very polite and respectful. Sometimes the best way to get information to a reporter is to “bend the ear” of the crew or intern.

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:

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 (see video below) during the discussion at the City Commission about moving forward with the referendum to fix the roads and potholes late in 2016. However, despite all the efforts by one particular former commissioner to put a negative “spin” on the referendum, he failed. That referendum later passed overwhelmingly 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.

However, study the body language closely in the video below of a former commissioner, Chris McVoy, PhD, who opposed the Neighborhood Road Bond in 2016, e.g., the 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).

FYI: The TV news reporter in the video above is Kathleen Walter, formerly at CBS12 (WPEC). Walter is now the spokeswoman for the City of West Palm Beach. The news report produced by CBS12 in Oct. 2016 was very fair and accurate leaving out the open-ended questions posed by those interviewed and keeping to the facts.

*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.