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How to Conduct an Effective Media Interview

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These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

Good luck with your newspaper interview Wednesday regarding the negative effects of epidurals! As you know, ANY publicity (even a single quote or paraphrase) does go a long way to promote awareness among the public. Although I'm not sending any epidural statistics or research your way, I thought I'd offer some pointers on media relations to you or anyone who may be interested.

    If at all possible, fax the written statistics/research material to the reporter before the interview or tell him/her you will fax it soon after interview (immediately after is best). On fax cover sheet write "Following is some background information I thought you might be interested in reviewing before our interview." Numbers get quite confusing over the phone, and when the reporter sits down to write the story, it will be a lot easier for him/her to have medical info/numbers right there in black and white. All the notes reporter is taking during interview sometimes get unorganized; provide reporter with all the relevant, clearly-organized material you possibly can.
  1. Ask the reporter at the beginning of the interview what the angle of the story will be. What and whose info will you be refuting (specifically)? For example, is a local doctor going to be stating the benefits of epidurals for an opposing viewpoint? Obviously, you'd like to hear what the other person has to say first and then be given a chance to respond to it. Ask the reporter if this is possible. Know that a good reporter will make sure story is objective. Tell the reporter "(so and so) will probably say ...., the other side of this is ... "
  2. Be honest. Be accurate. If you don't know an answer say "I'm not positive about that, but I'll get that information for you;" then, get back with reporter ASAP. Explain WHY your information is so important to reporter's audience -- spell it out for reporter (i.e., "The reason why this is so important for women and their babies is ...")
  3. Of course, thank the reporter for the interview and ask if there is anything else you can do for him/her. Be reporter's best little assistant; do any of the legwork you can. Reporter will be so happy to work with you (you're such a good and helpful source of info), he/she'll come back to you time and again. Don't try to sell your business in any way, instead try to position yourself as an authority on the subject; your name and business will automatically get a boost every time your authority is needed and used. Do you see the circling effect here?
  4. It's okay to tell reporter that you want to be sure that your quotes are correct; you can ask to have your quotes read back to you, but explain that you're only doing this because your opposition may really try to chew it up. Often times (sorry, it's true) unless reporters use tape recorders (which is optimum), they will write down main words of a quote and then kind of fill in the "unimportant" words by memory. I see this happen quite often; the quote isn't really wrong, but it's not entirely correct either. Never, however, ask a reporter to allow you to read the story before it's published -- big no,no.
  5. It's always better to be interviewed in person rather than over the phone simply because it typically avoids confusion and you can share so much more face to face. If a reporter asks for a phone interview say "sure, or I can certainly come to your office (tomorrow) at a time that's convenient for you."

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Midwifery Advocacy and Statistics


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