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What Frustrates Journalists The Most During Media Interviews

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Editorial Staff
What Frustrates Journalists The Most During Media Interviews

How do you handle media interviews? It’s easy to feel nervous about being interviewed, especially if you’re new to the spotlight or aren’t familiar with how journalists go about asking questions. However, it’s important to remember that they’re just trying to do their job, which means you have to do yours too! 

1) Answers that are too short or too long

One of the most frustrating things for journalists is when interviewees are vague or give one-word answers. If the answer to a question is “No,” that’s ok, say No but then explain yourself, why is the answer No. If the answer is “Yes” then explain yourself as well. For TV, keep your answers to about 30 seconds which is about 3 to 4 sentences; less than that or more than that can be bad. Give good information without thinking you have to give viewers the whole book. 

2) Lack of Preparation

Journalists know they're going to ask tough questions and expect an expert to be ready for anything. If you're not prepared for a media interview, you could seem unprepared or not knowledgeable about your industry. To avoid looking unprofessional, it's important to do your homework and come prepared with plenty of examples, statistics and anecdotes in case you get questions you weren't expecting. No matter how much preparation you put into an interview, though, there's always a chance that something unexpected will pop up — just keep your cool and try to stay on track when that happens. You'll want to be adaptable in case something unexpected happens but also stick with your talking points.

3) Flaky Answers

So what is a flaky answer? Any vague non-answer that makes it impossible to ascertain facts from someone who’s supposed to be an expert on a given topic, but either isn’t prepared or doesn’t want to reveal those facts. Flaky answers frustrate journalists because they waste everyone's time and ultimately do a disservice to the audience by obscuring important information. This can come in many forms, but here are two of my favorite types: 1) Answering a question with another question that has nothing to do with what was asked or 2) Answers that confuse questions about one thing with another thing entirely.

4) Not Knowing Who The Audience Is

It's important to know exactly who you're speaking with and tailor your message accordingly. Are you speaking to a general audience so your message should be understandable to a 4th grader? Or are you speaking with a high-level or trade-specific journalist whose audience expects the ins and outs and nitty gritty of the industry? That's why it's so important to learn as much as possible about a journalist before agreeing to an interview.

Here is to growing your name and brand for years to come.

- Your friends at Rolli

www.rolliapp.com


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