Court Story Communications Founder Olivier Gibbons invites you to read and comment on his blog postings. The musings offer tips, comments and opinions about generating media exposure as part of an overall communications strategy.
Relax, This Isn't An Ambush
Written by Olivier Gibbons on July 20, 2011
For people who are not experienced at giving TV interviews, there is something about a camera that can make you overly guarded. Being cautious to ensure that you speak accurately about a topic in your area of expertise is fine; being guarded to the point where you refuse to answer the reporter's question is not.
Remember, the reason you are being interviewed in the first place is because of your expertise. Failing to deliver will result in being bypassed for future interviews.
Here is an example of what not to do: Suppose you're a psychiatrist being interviewed about the potential violent side effects of a particular drug in the wake of a high-profile killing allegedly committed by a man on prescription drugs. If the reporter asks specifically about whether the accused murderer may have been driven to violence by the use of drugs, avoid saying, "I can't comment on that."
Refusing outright to comment will put you in a needlessly adversarial position. And the reporter will wonder why you're being interviewed if you cannot deliver the soundbite needed.
The better answer is, "I never evaluated the individual so I don't know what impact drugs may have had on him. But it's common for this drug to induce feelings of violence depending on the dosage ingested."
That answer protects the psychiatrist from analyzing someone (s)he knows nothing about and still allows the expert to come through with a soundbite. That's how you ensure future interviews.