Talking to the Media – Things to Remember

by Laura Montgomery Rutt – Soulforce Media Co-Coordinator

Be Prepared: If you are willing to talk to reporters, think ahead and plan what you want to say, and sum it up in your mind to three points you want to make.

Be Yourself: Short personal stories are powerful, use them! (but have them thought out ahead of time)

Be Mindful: You are not required to answer the question that was asked. ("I think more to the point is the fact that…’message point’." Reporters sometimes don’t know the right questions to ask and are fishing for the right angle, help them out.

Be Proactive: Do not allow reporters to frame the debate, this puts you on the defensive.

Be Positive: Do not repeat negative phrases or let reporters’ questions draw you off message.

Be Respectful: Do not assume the reporter is friendly to our cause, but treat reporters with respect and congeniality – they are the ones that get our message out.

Be Cautious: Never speak "off the record".

Be Brief: ALWAYS try to bring any question back to one of the message point in your answer.

Be Quiet: Once you have made your point, stop talking. Rambling on opens the door to being misquoted or taken out of context.

Be Smart: A good reporter will always ask, "Is there anything you want to add?" The only wrong answer to this question is NO. If you have nothing new to say, reiterate your message points, if you forgot one of your message points, state it now.

Be Happy: After the interview, you will think of things you wanted to say and didn’t. Remember, any publicity is better than no publicity. We learn from our mistakes.