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Preparing for print and on-camera interviews

Print Interviews

  • Involve many steps and people to final article (journalist, editor, section editor, copy editor, etc.)
  • Process can seem like broken telephone, so there is always a chance of misunderstanding and misinterpretation
  • Best strategy for this interview is PAUSE, ANSWER STOP (PAS), trying to keep answers to UNDER 10 WORDS.  This allows the journalist to ask more questions in a shorter period of time and zero in on info they deem to be important.
  • CAN use PAUSE, ANSWER WEAVE IN ONE MESSAGE, STOP (PAWS), but should be used VERY judiciously  (ie. 95% PAS, 5% PAWS)
  • There is less of a chance of being quoted out of context if the journalist controls the interview and clearly understands what you’re speaking about at all times

Taped On-Camera Interviews

  • Involves you speaking directly to the media’s audience, so there’s less filter and broken telephone
  • Need to be more aware of the interview’s technical needs:
  • Restate the question so that the segment is easy to edit.
  • Unless otherwise directed look at the reporter, not into the camera
  • Choose a backdrop that appropriately reflects your topic and is visually interesting (Ryerson backdrop, if possible)
  • Dress in solid colours, avoiding white and black if possible. Be aware of the microphone and avoid chunky and/or loud jewellery. Bold patterns will skew on camera.
  • Provide sound bites when possible:
  • Pause, repeat question, answer, weave in a message, stop.
  • Answers and messages should be 10 to 20 seconds

Live Interviews

  • A live interview is a Q and A between you and a journalist with little or no editing
  • Usually these don’t involve very tough questions, it’s more conversational
  • If you receive questions in advance, don’t write out your answers or else you could come off sounding stiff or scripted
  • In general, answers can be longer if during a live interview, as it’s a conversation between you and the journalist
  • A double ender or a live remote is a live interview where the journalist is speaking to you from a remote location via a wearable earpiece.  Those interviews usually involve you looking directly into the camera when answering questions.  Be aware of a time delay between your responses and the journalist’s questions. Make sure to test the earpiece to ensure you can hear properly before the interview begins