Managing media interviews is an art that can only be mastered with lots of practice.


  1. DO plan in advance who will be the spokesperson for the organization in the eventuality of a crisis; that person and only that person, should provide interviews.
  2. DO establish a reputation of accessibility with reporters so that they will check with you before publishing bad news about your organization.
  3. DO remember a reporter asks questions because it's his/her job, but you are not obligated to answer all of them.
  4. DO remember you're the expert, not the reporter. Most of the time, a reporter will accept your answer if it's given with the conviction of an anuthority.
  5. DO answer each question as directly as possible. If you're not sure, say so, and offer to call back later with an answer.
  6. DO tell the positive side of the story.
  7. DO be honest. 
  8. DO s^peak often in 'Headlines'. Answer questions with short sentences, again as directly as possible. In your mind, frame your answer as if it might be the headline or lead quotation for the story.
  9. DO correct inaccuracies. If incorrect information appears in news media, point out to it.
  10. DO challenge questionable facts, assumptions, or dubious sources of information.
  11. DO get back to a reporter as soon as possible if a message has been left for you.
  12. DO project sufficient empathy in situations involving injury, death or other extreme hardship.
  13. DO remember that it is common practice for reporters to record all conversations conducted over a telephone.


  1. DON'T over react to a reporter's question by becoming angry or by deameaning the questions. Anyone who submits to an interview is fair game in his/her area of expertise.
  2. DON'T answer a question out of your area of expertise, even if you know the correct answer. Refer the reporter to a staff member or associate who has the proper title/authority, whenever possible.
  3. DON'T try to stop a story.
  4. DON'T speculate. If you don't know something, admit it.
  5. DON'T tell a reporter more than he/she wants or needs to know.
  6. DON'T discuss specific information that would tend to give aid to the competition.
  7. DON'T make 'off the record' statements. You are never truly 'off the ercord' with a reporter. Period. Off the record comments are often seen as unattributed statements in print.
  8. DON'T repeat negative questions in a response. If you do they may be attributed to you.
  9. DON'T argue with a reporter, even when provoked.
  10. DON'T blame anyone for anything.
  11. DON'T disparage the competition. Answer questions about competitors with facts and don't color the facts with judgmental comments.
  12. DON'T say 'NO COMMENT'. In the world of reporters, those are fighting words.
  13. DON'T allow the reporter to compare yourself or your organization to anyone/anything else. It is an old trick to create controversy through comparisons. Challenge every effort to put words in your mouth.
  14. DON'T ask the reporter when the story will appear. If the information given in an interview is perishable, let the reporter know.
  15. DON'T drop your guard when the interview is over. It's never over until the reporter leaves the building or hangs up the phone.
  16. DON'T give additional publicity to bad news (AFTER AN ESSENTIALLY TRUE, BUT NEGATIVE STORY HAS APPEARED IN THE MEDIA) by attempting to rebut it. (When the mass media slings mud, some always sticks).



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