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Need help preparing to a news interview

Some fool wants to interview me



5:30 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have been asked to do an interview for a feature article for a website that gets pretty good traffic…unfortunately it is not BBC.

So has anybody had any experience with this sort of thing. I don’t want to mess it up and I was wondering how or if I can take advantage of this.


5:36 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I take it you don't have inhouse PR? ;)

I'd start with an interview agenda.


5:50 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I take it you don't have inhouse PR? ;)

LOL err that position is open right now


6:14 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Number one rule- never say "our site" or "a site like ours" always say the url. "Well with a site like widgets.com users are able to quickly find the best widget wodgets." Good luck!


9:23 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've had alot of experience in this area. I have written many articles and been on many business centered radio shows about website promotion and usability. You'll probably find, once you do one, more come flooding in. Once I did the BBC is set.

Definitly take on Teknorat's advice but it will probably be cut alot if you do it too much. You will find they will usually guide you through the process. Are you leading the subjects or are they. I either case, have a agenda prepared before hand. You can never be too prepared.



9:33 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member shak is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


are you in the UK.?

and do you want to speak to our companies PR agent for 5 minutes to get some advice.



3:30 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wow thanks shak for the offer but I am hanging in the third world hoping my dodgy mobile phone connection will make it. Some day I am going to do a very long thread about the challenges of doing B2B from the third world.

From what I am seeing (I have some questions from the interviewer. The agenda?) she already knows where she is going and I am suppose to help her along and help myself in the process.

Am I seeing this right?


1:44 pm on May 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Basically, what you need to aim for is a sort of script or outline. If they are asking questions, try to narrow down which questions or subject areas. Just try everything to avoid being put on the spot with a question you can't answer or a subject matter you are not confident in.



1:49 pm on May 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Hi, Skippy. I did a short interview on CNNfn last month, and the preparation steps were mostly the same as for a print interview, i.e., have in your mind a few points you want to make, preferably ones that can be summarized in catchy sound bites. (Of course, you want to be dressed and groomed appropriately for your audience. Depending on the format, a dressy shirt with a small company logo might be a good choice - try to strike a balance between looking natural and blatant promotion, and watch what other interviewees wear.)

Simple statements that sound profound, or quotable statistics, are always good for this purpose. If they edit your interview down for later broadcast, these are the kind of things that won't end up being cut.

Think about all the questions that might come up, and try to have answers for them. Also figure out how to bridge from various questions to the points YOU want to make.

Be prepared for the unexpected, too. My short interview was live, and I was in a different city than the NYC-based host. Thirty seconds in, someone in Atlanta pulled a plug (or tripped over a cable ;)), cutting the connection to NYC. My "window" on the broadcast went blank, and the host scrambled to fill the gap, immediately cutting to a commercial. When they restored the connection and the show resumed a minute later, he ad-libbed some humor about the disconnect and asked me something meant to be funny - needless to say, I hadn't expected this line of conversation, but I managed to reply and throw the conversation back to the host without looking completely foolish. I don't know how you prepare for that kind of thing, but try to be relaxed and confident (or pretend that you are!).

One other thing I wasn't prepared for were the studio lights. I've done news interviews in the past, mostly on location using ambient light or modest supplemental lighting. The studio I was in had a couple of giant banks of lights that were a few steps away from my face and were only slightly less bright than the surface of the Sun. "Look at the camera," the tech instructed. I was pretty sure there was a camera somwhere behind that wall of blinding brilliance, but it was all I could do to keep my eyes open without squinting or shading them with my hand. (I think they were unusually bright to allow balance with daylight from a window behind me.) Even with my conscious effort not to squint, I think I looked a bit squintier than normal.


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